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SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 4, 2000 - PINA Nius Online)---National media associations and community broadcasting groups from around the Pacific Islands are gathering at Nadi, Fiji Islands, for a workshop to help them strengthen their management and work.

The workshop, Developing National Media Associations, is organized by the UNESCO/PINA Pacific Journalism Development Centre set up under the UNESCO/PINA Pactrainer project. The workshop is being funded by AusAID's Pacific Media Initiative, Australia's major project to help Pacific Islands media development.

Taking part are:

The workshop will concentrate on four core modules:

UNESCO/PINA Pacific Journalism Development Centre coordinator Peter Lomas said: "This workshop is part of our continuing efforts to help strengthen in-country professional development and standards. It concentrates on helping develop the local infrastructure so this is sustainable. UNESCO's been a major supporter of developing national and regional training expertise. We're very appreciative of the help the AusAID Pacific Media Initiative is providing us to complement this through assisting strengthen the management and development of the national associations."

The workshop will be led by Pieter Wessels, an executive of the Commonwealth Journalists Association. Wessels is a former head of news and current affairs for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He is the chair of the Australian chapter of the Commonwealth Journalists Association and coordinates its training and support functions in the Asia-Pacific area.

The workshop is being opened by Fiji's Assistant Minister for Education, Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi.

Regional resource people include Jim Bentley, a Fiji Islands media veteran who has been UNESCO's Regional Communication Adviser for both the Pacific and Asia. PINA president William Parkinson will also address the group.

Participants come from:


* See 

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 3, 2000 – Wansolwara/Pacific Media Watch/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Journalism graduates and media personalities have hit out at a regional news magazine, rejecting an editorial claiming the graduates are "academic anemics."

The graduates from the University of the South Pacific, media editors and news directors from around the region interviewed by Wansolwara editor Reggie Dutt said last month's Islands Business editorial attacking the program was misinformed.

The editorial was summed up in the headline claim: "The trouble with today's academic training for journalists, as the USP effort is starting to show, is that it can produce not journalists but academic anemics, far removed from the real world."

The editorial sparked off a war of words in the Fiji media between Islands Business publisher Robert Keith-Reid and USP journalism coordinator David Robie, who accused the magazine of misrepresentation.

In the latest edition of Wansolwara, Verleshwar Singh, one of the first Diploma in Pacific Journalism graduates and currently special projects editor with Fiji's The Review group, said the editorial was "neither true nor accurate."

Janet David, news director of V6AH Radio in the Federated States of Micronesia, praised the "awareness, objectivity, responsibility, accountability, ethics, and more that cannot be put into words" in her time at USP.

Len Garae, editor of the Vanuatu Trading Post, said from Port Vila he was "privileged" to be working with the USP journalism program and the students.

"We had a USP journalism student working with us over the Christmas break and she contributed a lot," Garae said.

He said the program was specifically designed for the Pacific and graduates were better prepared for working in the region.

Richard Broadbridge, Fiji One's head of news and current affairs, said he was impressed with the standard of USP journalism students on attachment with the Fiji One News team.

Jale Moala, editor of Fiji's Daily Post said USP journalism graduates were well-trained people who were able to catch on fast.

"My business editor is a USP journalism graduate and I also have six more people from the journalism program working at the Daily Post," he said.

Moala said he disagreed with the editorial, saying, "It demeans a program which has done really good work in training journalists so far."

In a separate "Fourth Estate" column in Wansolwara, journalism coordinator David Robie questioned the ethics and motives of the editorial, citing examples of the misrepresentations.

"It is the dinosaurs of Pacific journalism who should get to grips with the basics - facts, accuracy and balance," he said.

Last December, the USP journalism program's two training newspapers, Wansolwara, and Spicol Daily, won two honors in the annual Ossie Awards, organized by the Journalism Education Association (JEA) for the best student journalism in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

Only two journalism training programs in the Pacific have won awards in the competition - the University of the South Pacific (1999) and the University of Papua New Guinea (1995).

Title -- 2634 REGION: USP graduates hit out at magazine editorial Date -- 3 April 2000 Byline – None Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- Wansolwara, University of the South Pacific, 3/4/00 Copyright -- Wansolwara (USP) Status – Unabridged



By Peter Emberson,

Journalism student of the University of the South Pacific

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 4, 2000 – Wansolwara/Pacific Media Watch/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---The fate of Radio Pasifik, the University of the South Pacific's student FM radio station, hangs in the balance as the student leadership wants to pull out.

Student and staff groups keen to keep the 88.8 FM radio open are rallying for support.

It is believed that USP's Media Centre and the journalism program are considering "rescue" proposals linked to USPNet2000.

Vice-Chancellor Esekia Solofa told the journalism training newspaper Wansolwara he was disappointed that the USP Students Association was "even thinking about" severing ties with the station.

Solofa said he had a personal interest in making the station a success.

But he added that the main reason behind its establishment was to give USPSA and the students an asset to identify as their own -- a focal point for cooperation.

"If the students don't value that, then we will have to look for other avenues in which to put this valuable facility to use."

The four-year-old radio station was originally set up by the USPSA as a student initiative.

Steering the attempt to have the station closed down is student president Veresi Bainivualiku - a former Radio Fiji journalist.

He said the station should close as a cost-cutting move and because the radio failed to serve the students on campus.

The USPSA pays F$12,000 (US$ 5,946.48) a year to the university's Media Centre to manage the station.

Late last month, a USPSA meeting was called with the future of the radio station on the agenda.

Secretary Graham Kalmar circulated a letter to the Media Centre and the journalism program, saying: "As we do not have the expertise or the appropriate knowledge and skills to run the radio station, the new officers are of the view that USPSA should relinquish responsibility in Radio Pasifik."

Representatives of the Media Centre and journalism program attended the March 17 meeting.

However, the president did not attend the meeting and a proposed resolution was postponed.

Media Centre director Gerald Farkas told the March 17 meeting that after the first year of the radio station's operation, enthusiasm among students "started to wane" -- especially close to exam week.

Farkas said the F$12,000 paid by the USPSA was "far too little." Often the Media Center was left to shoulder extra running costs.

Senior radio producer Pat Craddock said the radio station was a "great resource and it would be a terrible shame to lose it."

"Around the world many people are frantically trying to get a radio station and they can't because all the airwaves are choked," he said.

Craddock said he believed the radio station could relay its regional news to the USP campuses by the USPNet satellite.

"This would make the station a real regional one rather than just a Laucala campus radio."

Wansolwara was unable to get further comment by the USPSA president.

Title -- 2635 REGION: Fate of Radio Pasifik in limbo Date -- 4 April 2000 Byline -- Peter Emberson Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- Wansolwara, University of the South Pacific, 3/4/00 Copyright -- Wansolwara (USP) Status -- Unabridged

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