Solomon Star

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Jan. 10) – The accusation by a senior Solomon Islands Government official that the media is wasting time on the vehicles issue is absolutely pointless.

Far more serious, the attack comes from the director of National Archives, George Vari, who is supposed to defend the very government policy to retrieve its vehicles.

In essence, Vari seems to oppose the retrieve arguing that the Opposition members of parliament should keep the vehicles.

Whilst we leave it to him and his employer - our major concern is his beating of the media for purely doing its job.

[PIR editor’s note: Some former cabinet members who lost their positions with the recent ouster of former Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare have refused to return their government cars, saying they were allowed to buy them from the government. The new government of Derek Sikua wants to government property returned. ]

Mr Vari’s clout on the media will not stop us - as a responsible watchdog. We can’t sit down and see our leaders behave like that in the eyes of the public.

His intervention to see the media silenced on the matter is nothing but shows his sincere views on what good governance is all about.

However, that’s not our take.

The media has an important role to inform our people on the actions of their elected representatives.

And to outrightly claim that the vehicle controversy is a non issue is erroneous.

The vehicle issue may be a minor concern, but the sort of attitude stemmed from that quarrel is what we are concerned about.

If leaders preach so much about good governance but they turn around and do the opposite - surely something must be wrong.

It is wrong for anybody to tell the media is wasting its time on matters of such magnitude.

In journalism - the vehicle issue - is a developing story - meaning there is likely a twist and turn everyday and it’s obligatory that reporters kept abreast with the issue to rightfully inform their readers, viewers and listeners.

And this is what the media is doing.

If leaders are trying to protect their cronies by discouraging the media to probe into their actions then it indicates that they are promoting bad governance.

It’s far better for issues of national interest be debated in the media because that process itself will serve as a restraint from physical confrontations.

In this case, the press has a valuable function to play in any democratic society like us.

And people like Vari can’t tell us we’re wasting our time.

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