RADIO BROADCAST SONG'S LYRICS OF CONCERN IN FIJI ISLANDS

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PACIFIC ISLANDS NEWS ASSOCIATION (PINA) Suva, Fiji Islands

NEWS RELEASE January 6, 1999

"Sex On the Beach," a song by the Dutch-American group T-Spoon, has come under fire after being played on a Fiji Islands radio station.

Religious and community leaders quoted in the January 7, 1999 "Fiji's Daily Post" newspaper condemned its lyrics as socially, culturally and religiously offensive. The Ministry of Information said it is trying to get the song off the Fiji Islands airwaves.

Island Networks Corporation, which runs the Bula and Radio Fiji networks, banned the song from its stations. But Communications Fiji, Limited, which runs the popular FM96 radio station, is playing it several times a day despite a request from the government's Ministry of Information for it to stop, "Fiji's Daily Post" reported.

The ministry does not have any powers to direct the station to withdraw the song, the newspaper quoted Assistant Minister for Information Ratu Josefa Dimuri as saying. "We have already written to FM96. I am very disappointed with the lack of moral decency in that particular radio station. We are working on the media review that will cover new broadcasting laws and that will deal with the content and quality of programs that will be aired by radio stations in Fiji."

Communications Fiji Limited general manager Ian Jackson said they will continue to play the song "as it is really about a cocktail served in bars and nightclubs. We try and analyze songs that we put on air but it is how people interpret the song."

The song is named after a cocktail, which is now being sold in local bars, "Fiji's Daily Post" said. It added that local music shops reported heavy sales and have sold out their CDs of the song.

Fiji Women's Crisis Centre Coordinator Shamima Ali told "Fiji's Daily Post": "The song is quite offensive culturally and traditionally." The president of the country's biggest Christian church, the Methodist Church, Reverend Tomasi Kanailagi, called the song "unChristian." Shiu Charan, of the country's main Fiji Indian political party, the National Federation Party, said the song does not fit into the local scene and is for those living in places like New York. Fiji Government Permanent Secretary for Justice Alipate Qetaki said: "Those offended should lodge a complaint to the radio stations or to the police. Something that is offensive to somebody may not be to the other."

For further information, contact Nina Ratulele, Coordinator, PINA Pacific Freedom of Information Network, Pacific Islands News Association, Mailing Address; Pacific Islands News Association, Private Mail Bag, Suva, Fiji Islands. Street Address; Level 2, Damodar Centre, 46 Gordon Street, Suva, Fiji Islands, tel: +679 303623, fax: +679 303943, e-mail: pina@is.com.fj, Internet site: http://www.pressasia.org/PFA/

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