Local media to be kept away from Royals

BY Lice Movono

WHEN the British royals, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit Fiji beginning Tuesday October 23, local journalists will reportedly be barred from covering the historic event up close, Islands Business has been able to confirm.

This means that no journalist from independent or mainstream media will be invited to be part of the official press pool that will be granted access to all the public engagements of Prince Harry and Meghan.

This is a far cry from how local media was treated in Australia this week where the Duke and the Duchess are currently visiting.

Senior officials at the Fiji Ministry of Information while responding to queries about accreditation for Fijian media explained local journalists were to be ‘cordoned off at a distance’ from all the royal engagements.

Upon enquiry about which journalists if any would enter events and observe the royals in close proximity, the official said only a ‘media pool’ which consisted of overseas media and government information officers would cover the events.

When asked about media access to a climate change event at the University of the South Pacific;s campus in Suva, where the Duke is expected to deliver a lecture, the official said local media representatives would be seated outside the theatre and watch the proceedings via a television screen.

Meanwhile the British High Commission in Suva said all media requests and queries were handled by the Fiji Ministry of Information.

“For media the pools are decided by the ministry of information,” a British High Commission Digital Communication and Events Officer said.

“The pools for the media is composed of both local and international media personnel. So it’s best to take up questions regarding media revolving around the Royal Visit with MINFO.”

Requests for interviews with Melanie Hopkins, British High Commissioner to Fiji have so far been unsuccessful.

It is understood that over 100 overseas media have sought accreditation to cover the tour in Fiji.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrive October 23 and depart for Tonga October 25.