When you dish it out like Grubsheet does, you have to expect to also take it. So I welcome the personal attack on me by the ubiquitous “Rajend Naidu of Sydney” that the Fiji Sun has chosen to put at the top of its Letters page today.
Why? Because it is a hell of a lot better than the Fijian media dismissing me as an unnamed “former communications advisor to the Bainimarama government” or writing off my articles as “information on social media”. There it is – “Graham Davis of Grubsheet Feejee is a bastard”. Vinaka!
As they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity and the only thing worse than bad publicity is to be ignored. So it is terrific that I finally have a name and Grubsheet Feejee gets a free plug to drive even more readers to these pages.
Rajend Naidu and the Fiji Sun have broken the first rule of PR – never elevate your opponents by mentioning them. But for the record, I have never supported human rights abuses under the Bainimarama government or anyone else. On the contrary, I strongly and very publicly condemned a notorious instance of torture by Frank Bainimarama’s forces in 2013 when I was writing Frank Bainimarama’s speeches.
In 2012 – well after the events of 2006 – I accepted an invitation from the Bainimarama government’s communications consultant, Qorvis, to work on its Fiji account because I supported the Bainimarama government’s commitment to a common and equal citizenry and an equal playing field for every Fijian, irrespective of ethnicity or religion. That is something that is being steadily eroded under the current government and I am unashamedly fighting it with everything I’ve got.
I returned to Fiji to work for Qorvis on the proviso that we were all working for the restoration of parliamentary rule. Indeed, I have written that when Frank Bainimarama told me in 2013 that he was thinking of not having the election but a referendum on whether to have an election, I specifically reminded him of his promise to hold an election in 2014 and he did. Fiji returned to parliamentary rule and the rest is history.
It is a matter of opinion whether my work for the Bainimarama government was “propaganda” or communicating government policy. The same could easily be said about the Rabuka government’s information effort. But I am proud of my modest role in assisting with the restoration of democracy and a great many of the Bainimarama government’s achievements, including the introduction of free schooling for the first time and Fiji’s oceans and climate campaigns, on which I worked.
The Fiji Sun‘s headline “Living with lies” is a pretty blunt propaganda instrument in itself. But the Fijian mainstream media is clearly smarting from my attacks on it for its generally woeful performance in keeping those other bastards – the Coalition government – honest. Grubsheet has broken repeated stories that the Fijian media – including the Fiji Sun – have studiously avoided. So who is really “living with lies”, Fiji Sun?
What they really hate is that Grubsheet – along with Victor Lal’s Fijileaks – has become a powerful alternative to the mainstream media in Fiji and is stealing their readers. And solely because of their failure to keep the Fijian people fully informed. So from this bastard to you bastards, thanks for the plug and I look forward to another one soon.
Victor Lal gets his own free publicity this morning with an attack on him by one of Biman Prasad’s “lady friends” in the letter’s columns of the Fiji Times. After years of seething resentment, maybe it is now gloves off on the part of both papers. Bring it on. As a British politician once said: “Like being savaged by a dead sheep”.