Parliament

Facebook posts make it to Parliament

The Attorney-General this week presented screenshots of Facebook posts as evidence before the Privileges Standing Committee deliberating on the comments made by Opposition MP, Tupou Draunidalo. Fifteen pages of screenshots were provided along with other case files, leading to a recommendation by the Committee to suspend Draunidalo for the reminder of the term of Parliament. […]

Nacanieli Tuilevuka

June 4, 2016 5:03 pm

The Attorney-General this week presented screenshots of Facebook posts as evidence before the Privileges Standing Committee deliberating on the comments made by Opposition MP, Tupou Draunidalo.

Screenshots of Facebook posts contained in the submission by the Attorney-General to Parliament's Priviledges Committee. (Newswire).
Screenshots of Facebook posts contained in the submission by the Attorney-General to Parliament’s Priviledges Committee. (Newswire).

Fifteen pages of screenshots were provided along with other case files, leading to a recommendation by the Committee to suspend Draunidalo for the reminder of the term of Parliament.

Some of the Facebook posts belonged to former Opposition employee and SODELPA supporter Pita Waqavonovono, who has since deleted the posts.  Other posts belonged to a Facebook group run by anonymous users.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum singled out Mr Waqavonovono’s posts, saying they implied the Fiji First party was “about labelling and sidelining the indigenous Fijians”.

SAYED-KHAIYUM: “Mr Pita Waqavonovono, I understand who is an employee of SODEPLA, immediately went on (Facebook) just eleven hours ago:

Dear World,  the Minister for Education, Mahendra Reddy just referred to the members of opposition as dumb natives while referring to himself as a topper. I just hate racists who rely on these stereotypes to look smarter. Honorable Tupou Draunidalo rose to call him an idiot for making such a revelation. So this is what Fiji First is all about, labelling and sidelining the indigenous because we are natives and are assumed dumb, stupid, uneducated.”

The AG said the social media comments undermined the reputation of the Minister for Education.

SAYED-KHAIYUM: “This man called Pita Waqavonovono who was standing outside when we worked out earlier on, and I said to him “hey, it is you” and I said “why are you lying to the Fijian people?” and he just walked away. Because of this conspiracy, the Hounourable Minister for Education’s reputation has been severely undermined and curtailed and his ability to deliver the best to the students of Fiji and the young people is also been undermined because of this.”

In response, Pita Waqavonovono told Newswire he did not walk away from the Minister.

WAQAVONOVONO: “He (Sayed-Khaiyum) approached me and started to verbally abuse me but I did not respond to him. He walked away from me because I did not respond to him and I have witnesses and it was also photographed. His communication with me was photographed and that happened within the vicinity of parliament and as the Attorney-General that’s something he shouldn’t be doing at all, verbally abusing people.”

Mr Waqavonovono expressed his disappointment regarding his social media posts being used by the AG in parliament.

WAQAVONOVONO: “My post on Facebook was basically my personal opinion but most importantly it was what I heard in parliament and what was being said in parliament, the comment we make on our personal Facebook account could actually be brought up in Parliament because you can’t control Facebook and you cannot actually control social media.”

Mr Waqavonovono said that Fiji currently was not a democratic nation and was ruled by an elite group who wanted to assume control of everything.

WAQAVONOVONO: “We as young people, we voice our opinion on social media. If the AG has a problem with my Facebook post then he needs to speak to me and if he’s going to organize a meeting I’m happy to sit down with him and have a meeting with him.”

Selected screenshots are below.  There is also a link to download the entire 15 pages below.

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DOWNLOAD: Annexure4_Social_Media (PDF – 3.2MB)

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