Social media ‘to the rescue’

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Dr Shailendra Singh. Picture: Dialogue Fiji

When mainstream media fails to hold truth to power, social media is the saviour for the Opposition and the public, says 2022 Australian National University Pacific Research Fellow at the Australian National University Dr Shailendra Singh.

He made the comments while speaking virtually at the “Building Public Confidence in Elections in Fiji through Civil Society Action” workshop at the Warwick Fiji Resort and Spa yesterday.

He said social media was over-demonised and underappreciated.

“Not everyone has access to mainstream news media to express views,”‘ he said.

“But any Tom, Dick, and Harry can have their say about the Government or about anything and anyone, on social media.

“This is priceless in a controlled country. We cannot look at social media in isolation of mainstream media.”

He said in Fiji, social media was pivotal because mainstream media was regulated by the Media Act.

“Mainstream media can also be biased. We analysed mainstream media coverage of the 2018 elections, to be published soon.

“We found that all national media gave overwhelming positive coverage to the ruling party except one. The Opposition were shut out — this claim is not based on hearsay but solid research.

“Beside The Fiji Times, the only place to find dissenting views during the 2018 elections was social media.

“When mainstream media fails to hold truth to power, social media is the saviour for the Opposition and the public.”

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