The Fijian Government’s Facebook page has reached a new height of absurdity with a post today that treats the Fijian people as complete idiots. “Please avoid falling victim to fake news”, it says. “Only trust it if you see it on the Fijian Government page first”.
I cannot recall a single instance in four decades of reporting throughout the world of a democratically elected government saying: “Trust us, we’re a government. And only believe what you read if you read it from us first”. In the Fijian context, this means that anything you read in the mainstream media can’t be believed unless the government reports it first. This includes its acknowledged propaganda arms – the Fiji Sun and Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.
What on earth is going on at the Department of Information for this Orwellian idiocy to have taken root? Is it the work of Vatis, the young team of Arnold Chanel and Damien Whippy? And did they seek advice from their sound-alike masters at Qorvis?
One can only surmise that this has the imprimatur of the Minister for Communications, the AG, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. But is he now so devoid of judgment that he would approve of a democratic government trying to hoodwink its own people with methods that would shame an autocracy?
Perhaps it’s a crude attempt to deflect attention away from two upcoming stories on Grubsheet, the first on Friday (September 11) that details the Military Council’s call for the AG’s removal for his handling of the last election. Or one the following week (September 18) which reveals Frank Bainimarama’s designated successor.
If it’s the AG, of course, you are not supposed to believe it until you read it on the government’s Facebook page. In fact, you mustn’t believe anything unless you read it on the government’s Facebook page. And if it’s not the AG, you’re meant to believe it even less.
Welcome to La La Land.