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Annandale, Australia
Suva, Fiji Islands


By Luisa Tora, a University of the South Pacific journalism student

SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 26, 1999 - Pacific Media Watch/Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---The more open any conflict between the media and the government, the better it is for the public, a leading international journalist said yesterday.

Arnold Zeitlin, Director of the Asian Centre of the Freedom Forum in Hong Kong, said the government had the right to criticize and the media to respond.

"It is better to let it all hang out, so to speak," Mr. Zeitlin said.

"As long as the exchange continues, I think it would be beneficial for the press and the public."

Mr. Zeitlin was speaking at a Free Media/Fair Media Forum on Tuesday night in Suva.

He said it was healthy for such exchanges to occur between the media and the government.

He also said the government could advertise wherever it wished when asked to comment on directives that government departments advertise only in the government-owned Daily Post and on Island Networks Corporation stations.

If the government chooses not to advertise in a reputable advertising medium, then it is to its own detriment," Mr. Zeitlin said.

"It is very wise for independent news mediums to avoid depending on government advertising anyway."

Mr. Zeitlin said any government representation on media councils was an infringement on the news media.

"If government wants a free media, then the course it is taking is the wrong one," he said.

"The government should pass laws guaranteeing freedom of the press and information. It would be far more beneficial for the public if the government guarantees freedom of the press by law, as the public has the right to know what is going on."

Title -- 2319 FIJI: Media war 'good for all' Date -- 26 August 1999 Byline -- Luisa Tora Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- Fiji Times, 26/8/99 Copyright – FT Status -- Unabridged


*See PMW items 2237, 2217, 1888, 1887 at or

By Sorariba Nash

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 26, 1999 – Uni Tavur)---If they can help Divine Word, why not help [the national university's] UPNG Journalism?

Through our friends from the Pacific Media Watch we hear and read that delegates at the first Oceania regional conference of the World Association of Press Councils in Brisbane held in June this year expressed concern over the planned closure of the University of Papua New Guinea journalism school! A crying shame, yet it happened.

A joint media statement issued on that day by the WAPC chair, Professor David Flint, and Australian Press Council chair, Professor Dennis Pearce, stressed "the need to assist developing countries, strengthening a free and responsible press."

"Two speakers spoke out strongly in support of continued funding for the UPNG programme at the conference attended by more than 90 delegates."

This is the bit we like most: "continued funding for the UPNG Journalism programme," but who is going to step in and help us during this distressing hour? For a start, the national media industries within Papua New Guinea might consider helping out seriously.

The PNG Post-Courier meets our printing costs for Uni Tavur, which runs to about K 5000 annually. The others may have to start asking what they can offer in terms of assistance! If the country's [media] industry chipped in K 20,000-K 30,000 and sought backing from regional organizations like the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) and the Pacific Islands Broadcasting Association (PIBA) to make representation to AusAID, UNESCO, British Council, JICA and others, something positive might come along.

"The delegates called for cooperation in the Pacific Islands over the programme which was announced as closing down by the University Council earlier this year this year as part of major cost-cutting at UPNG." True - we need a regional approach for a rescue mission.

"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." Good on ya, Luke. At times things go wrong and tempers flare. We throw some mud your way but we appreciate your seasoned judgement and attempts to help us. We are with you all the way! Was there a resolution?

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."

Thanks David for your concern and support. It's a painfully heartbreaking experience, knowing you're technically dead and just waiting for the appointed for the burial!

He said the 25-year-old 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 programme is closing down," says David.

Yes! We don't want to boast, but we have a proud history and still do have the potential to stand up and welcome the new millennium!

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

No, David. I would say that not enough attention was paid to UPNG Journalism School's struggles and appeals over the years. Then there is this story about donation of textbooks for Divine Word, but no echo over the SOS call by UPNG!

One wonders why PINA is hell bent on helping DWU to acquire textbooks and resource materials in Journalism/Media Studies but has offered no help to UPNG over the past few years! I like this question from Uni Tavur's Conman [columnist] ..."is it a real university if it doesn't have books?"

Of course PINA Nius Online must have removed our email address from their address book! We are missing out on such stories as "BOOK AID HELPS PNG DIVINE WORD JOURNALISM STUDENTS," sent out on 15 July 1999 by PINA.

"An appeal for help by PINA executive member Oseah Philemon is bringing urgently needed book aid to Divine Word University journalism students in Papua New Guinea.

"Mr. Philemon appealed for help after Divine Word University offered to take in any displaced students from the University of Papua New Guinea journalism programme."

This is not correct, but look at the quality of people willing to help! I wish people of this caliber looked at UPNG Journalism for what it really is. UPNG Journalism School is an established university level programme and it sent out an SOS with all honesty.

Among the first to help [DWU] are: Bill Southworth, who is the executive director of the New Zealand Journalists Training Organization. Mr. Southworth is sending copies of his organization’s new book, Intro, a 540-page guide to journalism basics.

Tarja Virtanen, who is UNESCO's Regional Communication Adviser for the Pacific States, has sent UNESCO publications. These include The News Manual, a UNESCO-funded handbook for developing countries [produced by UPNG], with volumes on basic techniques, advanced reporting, and news media ethics and law.

Pieter Wessels, who operates the Australian branch of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, is getting help for Divine Word from Australian universities, media companies and publishers.


*Sorariba Nash is the electronics media lecturer at the UPNG Journalism School. He also coordinates the programme and is the only Pacific Islands journalism educator coordinating a university J-school in the region.

Title -- 2318 PNG: PNG media lecturer critical over lack of help Date -- 26 August 1999 Byline -- Sorariba Nash Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- Uni Tavur (PNG), 23/8/99 Copyright – UT Status -- Unabridged

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