Archive: Internet coup in Fiji 2000
Crisis coverage by University of the South Pacific journalism students
David Robie, Wendy Bacon
26 July, 2010
David Robie and journalism students at the University of the South Pacific have been reporting the George Speight coup in Fiji on their website Pacific Journalism Online. The site was closed down by the University of the South Pacific (USP) administration on 29 May 2000 in response to threats, and new stories about the Fiji crisis were not permitted to be published on the Fiji site.
For three months, University of Technology, Sydney, journalists Fran Molloy and Kate MacDonald published stories and photographs from Fiji journalism students and USP staff on the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ) website - now archived in the UTS Library.
The site was designed and set up within hours by Fran Molloy, and with the support of ACIJ director Chris Nash and head of journalism department Wendy Bacon, the USP journalism students were able to have their stories published shortly after they were filed.
The USP students subsequently won several awards for their online (and print) coverage of the coup in the annual Journalism Education Association (JEA) Ossie Awards, including best regular publication in the Australia/NZ and Pacific region. Awards went to Pacific Journalism Online and the students working on Wansolwara.
David Robie is an award-winning New Zealand investigative journalist who has reported on the 1987 coups and many other issues and events in the Pacific. He was then running the USP journalism program. He is the editor of Pacific Journalism Review and a graduate of the UTS Master of Arts (Journalism) program. Broadcaster Pat Craddock, then with the USP Media Centre, was also a key leader of efforts by the journalism team to communicate the coup to the outside world.
The Fiji 2000 coup: A media analysis
The 2000 Speight coup: An analysis of The Fiji Times and the impact of partisan journalism
The Pacific Journalism Online site was restored, and remained a successful South Pacific news site until March 2007. A mirror of the Wansolwara special coup online edition of the newspaper established by former USP design lecturer Mara Fulmer in the US is here.