SHYMAL KUMAR AGAINST RNZ

Case Number: 2968

Council Meeting: NOVEMBER 2020

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Radio NZ

Ruling Categories: Discrimination
Unfair Coverage

Overview

On September 26 RNZ published Fiji govt urged to 'walk the talk' on gender equality.The article reported the results of a survey undertaken by the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement which showed that of the 192 members on 38 state-owned boards, women comprised only 21 per cent.

The survey also found that of those women 61 were indigenous Fijian (32%) while their Indo-Fijian colleagues were at 42% - 10 points higher.

There was a call for the government to come out strongly on gender equality.

Shymal Kumar complained that the article was capable of fanning the flames of racial discord in Fiji. He argued that surveying to determine how many people are on boards according to race has nothing to do with woman empowerment.

The Media Council noted that this was straightforward reporting, and while it strays a little from the main theme of the article there is no question of gratuitous discrimination. In fact to put the question of women on boards into an overall context of ethnic representation adds depth to the reporting.

It may be uncomfortable to some people for research to be done and reported on the racial composition of public bodies, but publication of facts in the public interest is a legitimate activity in any democratic society.

Finding: Insufficient Grounds to Proceed.