Special Report

19 May 2000

Archive: Internet coup in Fiji 2000

Laufa Eli (Samoa), Noora Ali (Maldives) and 2000 attempted coup leader George Speight - the infamous kiss story. Photo by: Losana McGowan (Fiji)
Crisis coverage by University of the South Pacific journalism students
19 May 2000

An archive of the exclusive University of the South Pacific journalism programme coverage of the Fiji coup by George Speight in May-August 2000. This was published by the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ) after the students' own website was closed by the USP administration.

David Robie and journalism students at the University of the South Pacific have been reporting the George Speight coup in Fiji on their website Pacific Journalism Online. The site was closed down by the University of the South Pacific (USP) administration on 29 May 2000 in response to threats, and new stories about the Fiji crisis were not permitted to be published on the Fiji site.

For three months, University of Technology, Sydney, journalists Fran Molloy and Kate MacDonald published stories and photographs from Fiji journalism students and USP staff on the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ) website - now zip file archived in the UTS LibraryIndex page here to a live archive.

The site was designed and set up within hours by Fran Molloy, and with the support of ACIJ director Chris Nash and head of journalism department Wendy Bacon, the USP journalism students were able to have their stories published shortly after they were filed.

The USP students subsequently won several awards for their online (and print) coverage of the coup in the annual Journalism Education Association (JEA) Ossie Awards, including best regular publication in the Australia/NZ and Pacific region. Awards went to Pacific Journalism Online and the students working on Wansolwara.

David Robie is an award-winning New Zealand investigative journalist who has reported on the 1987 coups and many other issues and events in the Pacific. He was then running the USP journalism program. He is the editor of Pacific Journalism Review and a graduate of the UTS Master of Arts (Journalism) program. Broadcaster Pat Craddock, then with the USP Media Centre, was also a key leader of efforts by the journalism team to communicate the coup to the outside world.

The Fiji 2000 coup: A media analysis

The 2000 Speight coup: An analysis of The Fiji Times and the impact of partisan journalism

Pacific freedom of the press: Case studies in the media

The Pacific Journalism Online site was restored, and remained a successful South Pacific news site until March 2007. A mirror of the Wansolwara special coup online edition of the newspaper established by former USP design lecturer Mara Fulmer in the US is here.

Young and brave - Global Journalist, October 2000 - Full text and images from the original article

Inquiries on Pacific Journalism Online and Wansolwara to: USP head of journalism Shailendra Singh.

Censorship at USP

Other USP student coup archive material

Mara Fullmer's USP Fiji coup archive | Online copy of the coup edition of Wansolwara

Wansolwara Online (new website)

David Robie

Professor, PMC Director

Professor David Robie is an author, journalist and media educator specialising in Asia-Pacific affairs.