FIJI TV WANTS EXCLUSIVE LICENSE EXTENDED, SAYS YASANA CHAIRMAN

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 11, 2000 - Fiji's Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---Moves are under way to extend Fiji Television's exclusive license for another four years, it was revealed yesterday.

Fiji Television's exclusive license expires in January next year, sparking a frenzy among those interested in the TV business, both locally and internationally.

While no official comments have been made, Fiji TV has reported that Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited, which currently operates five national radio stations, is among the bidders to run a television service. Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited is a government-owned corporation.

But Yasana Holdings Limited chairman Olota Rokovunisei was optimistic yesterday that the Interim Government will extend Fiji Television's exclusive license until 2004.

Yasana Holdings is the parent company and owns a 51 percent share in Fiji Television.

The company is owned by the 14 indigenous Fijian provincial councils and it took over five million F$1 (US$ 0.46) shares held in trust by the Fiji Development Bank in March this year.

Mr. Rokovunisei said that Yasana Holdings had written to the Interim Government seeking an extension to Fiji Television's exclusive license for another four years.

"It must be remembered that Fiji Television was originally given a 12-year exclusive license by the Rabuka Government when Fiji Television was established in 1993," Mr. Rokovunisei said.

But this was reduced under the terms of an out-of-court settlement between Fiji Television and the now deposed Chaudhry Government. Under this Fiji Television is believed to have been allowed to extend its advertising to include areas such as liquor advertising and the exclusive license ends at the end of this year.

Mr. Rokovunisei said Fiji Television has just begun to make money with its first dividend declared this year.

"To open up the market now would jeopardize the company's operations," he said.

"Yasana Holdings has just received its first dividend, a little over F$100,000 (US$ 46,000) for our investment.

"It is important that we continue with the original 12-year exclusive license before the market is opened up," he said.

Fiji Television operates the free-to-air service Fiji One plus three pay channels.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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