Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

Fiji’s coup culture 1987-2006: A media perspective

Volume 18, Issue 2

October, 2012

From page
167
to page
181
Singh, T. R. (2012). Fiji’s coup culture 1987-2006: A media perspective. Pacific Journalism Review, 18(2): 167-181.
Author(s): Thakur Ranjit Singh
Publication date: 
October, 2012

Since attaining independence from Britain in 1970, Fiji enjoyed a period of ‘multiracial peace’ for 17 years under Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and this gave the country the utopian slogan: ‘Fiji―the way the world should be.’ But was this really so? Beneath the notion of peace, democracy and racial unity was a racial volcano that erupted when democracy took another turn. Subsequent to the defeat of the chiefly-led Alliance Party in the 1987 election, a third-ranking military officer, Sitiveni Rabuka, staged a coup to topple a Fijian-led but Indian-dominated government. He later handed the controls back to indigenous Fijians. Since then, Fiji has never really tasted any long-lasting political peace, democracy or stability. Despite two constitutions and some five elections since the first coup, the Western concept of stable democracy has eluded Fiji. It has had four coups since 1987 and this notoriety relegated it to rogue state status with a ‘coup culture’, or as some academics and journalists have described it, became ‘coup coup land’. This article examines some issues relating to the prevalence of the coup culture in Fiji and, views them in the light of media coverage.