GROWTH PLAN FOR FIJI'S DAILY POST NEWSPAPER

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By John Kamea

SUVA, Fiji Islands (February 21, 1999 - Fiji Times/Pacific Media Watch/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Fiji's Finance Minister Jim Ah Koy is soon to draw up a plan, expected to run into millions of dollars, to revamp the Daily Post and make it the country's best daily newspaper.

Assistant Minister for Information Ratu Josefa Dimuri said the plan included relocating the paper's offices, installing better equipment and improvement of company facilities.

"Work will entail the possibility of relocating the whole establishment from its present location to a more convenient area," Ratu Josefa said.

"There is a need to have a more spacious newsroom that should be computerized and a more attractive commercial advertising package. Sourcing of international news and links with reputable international news organizations also needs to be improved," he said.

Ratu Josefa said despite criticisms, the Daily Post would still be independent and carry on its role as a government watchdog.

He said the Government would not interfere with the paper's editorial policy in covering the elections.

"The Daily Post will cover the elections like any other media," he said.

"There has been some widespread perception that with the Government buying the Daily Post shares, the paper will no longer be an effective watchdog. I don't think this will be the case. Government's concern in this particular case is purely a commercial one.

"Government's position on the media is explicit. It advocates media freedom as long as it is exercised with the greatest responsibility."

Ratu Josefa said the Government was considering a bid by Fiji TV to cover the May general election]campaigns.

* See PMW items 1915, 1917, 1919, 1922, 1924, 1929 [available on Pasifik Nius website at the Journalism Programme, University of the South Pacific, www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/].

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