PACIFIC ISLANDS MEDIA URGED TO USE INTERNET

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (June 28, 1999 - PINA Nius Online) - Pacific Islands media were today urged to consider forming alliances to make sure there is a strong Pacific news presence on the Internet.

The suggestion came from Australian High Commission First Secretary Glenn White as he opened a regional newsroom management for the Internet course in Suva.

The course is jointly organized by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA), Commonwealth Press Union (CPU), Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) and Pacific Community Regional Media Centre (SPC). It is funded through the Commonwealth Media Development Fund.

Mr. White said the Internet has taken the world by storm and competition for attention is fierce. But by combining in strong world wide web sites the Pacific Islands media could make sure they catch the attention of web surfers in the "global village."

Mr. White praised the Fiji Islands news media for doing this already through the Fiji Village and Fijilive sites.

Fiji Village (http://www.fijivillage.com/) has news from the Communications Fiji radio stations FM96, Navtarang, and Viti FM, The Fiji Times and the business and news magazine Islands Business.

Fijilive (http://www.fijilive.com/) has news from the Daily Post, Island Networks Corporation's Bula Network and Radio Fiji stations, and The Review newsmagazine.

Mr. White said, "Here in the Pacific, media organizations are already making inroads on the Internet. The Samoa Observer, I'm told, will become the first Samoan news site. And, no doubt, after this workshop the number of Pacific news sites will increase."

Mr. White praised the training cooperation between the CBA, CPU, PINA and SPC. "This is a very commendable example of combined efforts."

He said it followed similar cooperation between the AusAID Pacific Media Initiative Project, PINA and the SPC.

The Newsroom Management for the Internet course is led by a pioneer of Online Journalism teaching in Australia, Kerry Green, of the University of Queensland journalism department. Mr. Green is a former newspaper editor.

He was last week in Samoa helping set up a world wide web site for the daily Samoa Observer newspaper.

For more information, contact Nina Ratulele, PINA Administrator, at pina@is.com.fj

WORLD PRESS COUNCILS CONCERNED OVER UPNG JOURNALISM-SCHOOL CLOSURE

BRISBANE, Australia (June 28, 1999 - Pacific Media Watch/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Delegates at the first Oceania regional conference of the World Association of Press Councils have expressed concern over the planned closure of the University of Papua New Guinea journalism school.

The delegates called for cooperation in the Pacific Islands over the program which was announced as closing down by the university council earlier this year as part of major cost cutting at UPNG.

However, the journalism program has been given a reprieve until the end of this academic year.

According to a media statement issued jointly today by the WAPC chair, Professor David Flint, and Australian Press Council chair, Professor Dennis Pearce, the world meeting stressed "the need to assist developing countries in strengthening a free and responsible press."

Two speakers spoke out strongly in support of continued funding for the UPNG program at the conference at Brisbane, June 22-23, attended by more than 90 delegates.

Luke Sela, chair of the PNG Media Council and administration manager of the PNG Post-Courier, urged delegates to adopt a resolution over the closure.

David Robie, journalism coordinator at the University of the South Pacific in the Fiji Islands, described journalism education in the region as "another pillar of media freedom."

He said the 25-year-old UPNG journalism school was the pioneering training institution in the South Pacific which had educated more than 190 journalists in Papua New Guinea and the region, particularly Melanesian countries.

"It is a tragedy for journalism education in the region that the UPNG program is closing down," said Robie, who is the Australian Press Council Fellow for 1999.

"Questions can be asked whether enough was done at the crucial time to ensure the program continues."

Kalafi Moala, editor of the independent Tongan Times newspaper, who has been harassed by authorities and jailed in 1996 for contempt of Parliament, called for the establishment of a press council in Tonga.

"We want to be involved in setting up associations such as a press council, and subject ourselves to training which will help us to be more adaptable to a changing government attitude toward the independent press," he said.

"One of our desires is to see a Press Council set up in Tonga, but the formation of such a council needs to be thought through carefully since 90 percent of media ownership in Tonga is either the government or the church."

The WAPC media statement cited the following developments:

* A report was tabled on a voluntary press council "model."

* A draft report was presented on a possible transnational complaints mechanism.

* The WAPC resolved to offer advice and hold workshops on ethical issues to assist developing countries, including the Pacific.

The conference's main themes were the role and responsibilities of the media in covering tragedies and communal conflict, and ethical responsibilities in covering the courts and criminal justice system.

Title -- 2192 REGION: World press councils concerned over UPNG j-school closure Date -- 28 June 1999 Byline -- None Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- Journalism Programme, University of the South Pacific, 28/6/99 Copyright -- Journalism, USP Status -- Unabridged

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