Intelligentsiya reports that a Fijian businessman was arrested, detained and mistreated by the Fijian army, who suspected him of writing blog posts:
Ulai Taoi, the president of the Fiji Indigenous Business Council, was arrested by soldiers on Friday at about 2pm and was released this afternoon after undergoing interrogation at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks.He has reportedly been mistreated…
Another blog is reporting that businessman and journalist Imraz Iqbal (who owns Fiji Living Magazine) was taken up to QEB for yet another dressing down on Thursday by the commander of the 3rd Fiji Infantry Regiment, Tevita Mara. Also taken up to the camp for a “talking to” was ousted SDL minister Losena Salabula, according to Resistfrankscoup.
Some had high hopes for this coup. But truth was the first casualty, as always.
The internet is proving to be a headache for autocratic regimes around the world, particularly Youtube. Thailand was the most recent country to block the video site, after some videos allegedly insulted the king. Now Youtube has given in to royal pressure and pulled the clips. In Fiji, though, it is blogs like Intelligentsiya and the resurrected Ms. Vakaivosavosa’s which are worrying the junta. Soldiers have apparently also pressured FINTEL, Fiji’s sole ISP, to block blogspot.com altogether:
A FINTEL spokesman confirmed he had met with members of the the interim administration this morning and been asked to shut off access to the weblogs.
He said they asked that access be cut off to the blog for “national security” reasons.
“They asked us to address a few things. We have given them some options to consider, because we can’t just go into the web and stop access. It would be unfair to the general public,” the spokesman said.
“We will address the blog sites, but they need to direct us about what we are to do. We can’t just go in and stop anything and everything. It must be specific,” he said.
It seems that anonymity is the only protection for the Intelligentsiya bloggers. And the worst-case scenario is for Internet access to be cut off completely for Fiji. Which contrasts with the rosy view Thomas Barnett has of globalization, inevitable connectivity and “content control.”
There can be no justification for banning a blog simply for political reasons. Doing so reveals the true nature of Bainimarama’s coup.