Editorial comment – We are The Fiji Times

The so-called The Fijian Times — a fake news site — trying to pass itself off as The Fiji Times on Facebook using a logo associated with The Fiji Times. Articles in The Fijian Times carry no bylines. Its owners and its editors are not identified. Its news have a clear political slant.

Made up facts appear to be the rage these days.

Whether it was US President Donald Trump who turned this into a sort of catch-phrase, or whether it simply happened, fake news appears to be the rage.

If some politicians aren’t slapping the term onto some of their political speeches these days, it’s an ingredient on social media platforms.

The Fiji Times hasn’t been immune to fake news.

In fact we haven’t been immune to this because a shadowy figure, with a very strong incentive, has chosen to slap a site on social media masquerading as The Fiji Times.

A play on words, choice of colours, and hashtags are vital ingredients in this campaign. Whatever it’s meant to achieve though is quite clear.

Call it what you want, whether it is a cynical fabrication or propping up of a lie, masquerading as the “truth”, fake news is very real.

It’s, however, getting to a stage where we must question reality and the reason behind the promotion of false news.

It’s when we must question who stands to gain from such fake news.

As we highlight today on the front page, The Fiji Times is in no way associated or linked to the so-called “The Fijian Times” — a fake news site which is trying to pass itself off as this newspaper on Facebook, using a logo and hashtags associated with The Fiji Times.

Who would choose to use the year The Fiji Times started, in 1869, as a hashtag on social media?

“The Fijian Times” exists only on Facebook.

It falsely claims (in its “About” page) to have been founded in 1820.

As we stated, articles in “The Fijian Times” carry no by-lines.

Its owners and its editors are not identified.

Its news has a clear political slant. On the other hand, The Fiji Times is an independent multimedia news organisation, registered in Fiji under the Media Industry Development Act and whose publisher and editor are identified in its pages every day.

Our contents have to meet a set of journalism standards that require accuracy, balance and ethical behaviour daily.

Our owners and reporters are accountable for the news that we publish, including under the law.

People who consume news and other information must now take care not to be fooled by fake news organisations.

The so-called “The Fijian Times” is in this category.

Whether this misinformation is deliberate, or an obstruction of understanding the truth, whether it is a play on human vulnerability, we must hold those behind this campaign out.

We are The Fiji Times, not The Fijian Times!

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