Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Asia Pacific Report

FIJI: Opposition politician threatened with rape

There is a social media campaign to reinstate Seruiraduvatu's scholarship. Image: Facebook

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Item: 8648

SUVA (Fiji Times / Radio Australia / Wansolwara / Pacific Media Watch): A Fijian opposition politician has been threatened with rape for campaigning for a seat in Parliament.

Roshika Deo of Be The Change told Radio Australia today that she has been threatened with rape for running as an independent candidate in the September elections.

Deo has reported the threats to the police and was praised by another opposition party, the Social Democratic and Liberal Party.

"We say to her, keep up your courage; do not be afraid of bullies and thugs," the party told the Fiji Times.

Meanwhile, the media spotlight is still on University of the South Pacific student Tamanirarama Jone Seruiraduvatu, whose scholarship was terminated recently after he campaigned for Deo.

The Fiji Times journalist Torika Tokalau reported that Seruiraduvatu's mother, Sereima Kidia, had now made a public plea to the government's Tertiary Scholarship Loan Board for "forgiveness".

Kidia told the newspaper that she had five children and was the sole breadwinner, covering all the family's costs from selling "cakes, jams and other pastries, sometimes earning $80 a week".

Kidia had managed to put her children through high school but was counting on Seruiraduvatu to support the family after his planned graduation next year.

Kidia said:

"Tamani told me two Sundays ago that his scholarship was terminated. When he told me I was quiet, all I could do was cry. I didn't know what else to do. I have always encouraged my children to take part in activities such as debates and so on but I didn't think that being part of a political activity would result in this."

The Social Democratic and Liberal Party's leader Ro Teimumu said the termination of Seruiraduvatu's scholarship was "a perfect example of the attempts to cow these first-time voters".

"It was disgraceful that his scholarship was taken away from him because he had a political association," Teimumu said.

PMW reported earlier in the week that the government's Tertiary Scholarship Loan Board had sent Seruiraduvatu a letter which said: "It has come to our attention that you have been associating yourself in political agendas without taking into consideration your obligation with the Ministry of i-Taukei Affairs (MTA) which is to pursue the BCommerce (Hotel Management) ... MTA has zero tolerance level of behavior that contravenes the above, both on and off campus.

"Therefore MTA reserves the right to terminate your scholarship if a report is received from your institutes, or from a law enforcement agency concerning a breach of regulation".


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Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
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