The Fiji Times » Book of memories


The industrious team at The Fiji Times achieved recognition as Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabula launched The Fiji Times at 150 written by academic Dr Anurag Subramani who has a colourful and distinguished credential.

When I read The Fiji Times, I am thankful that The Fiji Times has remained impartial. I am thankful that The Fiji Times has never compromised its standards, ethics and position as a public watchdog.

I am delighted that The Fiji Times masthead continues to fly proudly and with dignity without having to create space for any news which is not credible or reliable. This credibility and reliability will definitely be remembered by many in years to come!

The editor-in-chief and his sub-editors alongside the courageous journalists deserve a pat for standing by media ethics and doing their part in disseminating correct information to the wider community.

It was another momentous occasion then when The Fiji Times at 150 was launched by the PM.

Readers must never forget that The Fiji Times has been the key witness to Fiji’s changing tides of political landscapes, the resilience of Fijian people in the face of adversity, and the moments of unity that have bound us together as one nation, one Fiji.

No wonder this newspaper holds a delicate and a special place in the hearts of thousands of ardent readers, both here at home and in overseas.

Book about minutiae of history

The Fiji Times at 150 is about the minutiae of history.

This was highlighted by Dr Anurag Subramani during the launch of the history book. These lines from his speech added glamour to the eventful night, “It is about the minutiae of history, the bits and pieces of history, the odds and ends, the scraps.

It’s not about the big events or the big players. The big players are there of course, the big events are there, but I deliberately as a historian, relegate them to the background for grounding the minor narratives and what I call the little voices of history.

It is about those stories that mainstream historians either about feature or relegate to the footnotes. It is about the stories that get tucked away in the inner pages of newspapers.”

After celebrating its 150th birthday at GPH, the team has rewarded readers with a piece of rich history one that is embedded with strings of emotions as readers reflect on the 154 years that The Fiji Times existed and delivered information.

Since coming hot off the presses in 1869, The Fiji Times has definitely been the record keeper of key, pivotal moments in Fiji’s history for over a century. The archives section in the library is evident that record keeping is paramount as far as the trusted brand is concerned.

The Fiji Times informs and inspires. Fiji Times Pte Ltd board chairman Kirit Patel shared these lines: “In 2019, amidst the joyous celebrations of The Fiji Times remarkable 150th anniversary, Dr Anurag Subramani embarked on a visionary endeavour, to compile a history book commemorating this significant milestone.

Initially, he envisioned it to be around 150, max 200 pages, more like a coffee table book.

Little did he anticipate that it would span over 500 pages when finally completed. This voluminous masterpiece is a testament of the fact that The Fiji Times is far more than a mere newspaper, it is an extraordinary publication capturing the essence of the nation’s past and serving as a chronicle of its journey.”

Protecting the freedom of the press

I quote the editor-inchief Fred Wesley: “We take great pride in doing what we do. We value our place in society, and the role we know we can play to move our nation forward.”

Mr Wesley shared that as a newspaper, The Fiji Times would continue to stay true to its founder’s dream of protecting the freedom of the press and the rights and liberties of all.

I agree with Mr Wesley that the book was a testament to the commitment and dedication that had carried The Fiji Times through 150 years, and that behind the event sat sacrifice, perseverance, dedication, resilience, courage, and great passion.

Indeed, The Fiji Times has watched Fiji develop over more than a century. I admire Mr Wesley’s leadership.

He was at the helm of The Fiji Times when the tide was difficult to turn, but in a very professional manner, he handled things and never let readers point a finger at The Fiji Times.

His sub-editors are his biggest strength for they rally their support to the leader when the going gets tough. It is this team unity and support that has made The Fiji Times Fiji’s number one.

Kirit Patel shares visionary inspiration

Fiji Times Pte Ltd board chairman Kirit Patel shared that the visionary inspiration for the publication, The Fiji Times at 150, originated from Mahendra Motibhai Patel, the former chairman of Fiji Times Pte Ltd and Motibhai Group.

I was delighted when Mr Kirit Patel announced that as part of its corporate social responsibility, the Motibhai Group family would distribute over 1000 books to all secondary schools and other institutions in Fiji, free of charge.

This is a wonderful gesture — one that would ensure the history of The Fiji Times is shared with students so they value the work that has been done.

Mr Patel credited former publisher and general manager Hank Arts for his role in ensuring the book became a reality and that it captured the essence of Fiji’s history and journey.

He added that the launch served as a reminder of journalism’s power- to inform, inspire, and unite.

Never again must we be suppressed

I reflect on the editorial piece penned by the Wesley titled “Never again must we be suppressed” (FT: 03/05). I recalled the dark days that Wesley and his team went through.

Staunch journalist Anish Chand’s story titled ‘Staring at a brick wall’ was equally heart-breaking and heart-touching.

Two other stories shared by Serafina Silaitoga and Sakiasi Waqanivavalagi titled ‘The truth shall prevail’ and ‘A force against terror’ touched hearts. I must say vinaka vakalevu team The Fiji Times for carrying the flag and ideals of journalism and for braving the horror attacks.

In conclusion, I repeat the words of our brave editor-inchief, “never again must we be suppressed”.

• RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM is a regular contributor to this newspaper and the views expressed in this article are his and not of The Fiji Times.

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