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PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH Annandale, Australia and Suva, Fiji Islands

NEWS RELEASE November 24, 2000

(SUVA, Fiji Islands)---Four student journalists involved in coverage of the Fiji coup crisis in May and the aftermath won major prizes at the annual University of the South Pacific Journalism Awards.

New Zealand High Commissioner Tia Barrett presented the awards.

Reggie Dutt won the best editor category for his work on Wansolwara and Pacific Journalism Online; Matelita Ragogo won the best in depth story for articles on coup leader George Speight and Constitutional Review Commission chair Professor Asesela Ravuvu; Tamani Nair was best radio reporter for his attachment work on Radio Fiji during the coup; and Joe Yaya won the most promising first year student prize for his coup photography and professionalism.

But Salesh Kumar won the inaugural student of the year journalism award of the Newsroom Tanoa and a cash prize of $500, sponsored by The Review/

Kumar, who is also the Hindi news presenter for Fiji Television, won the award for the highest journalism major marks of any graduating student over the past three years.

"Like all the Fiji news media, the student journalists rose to the challenge to cover the crises of the year," said journalism coordinator David Robie.

"While the rest of the university closed down, our volunteer journalists carried on with their newspaper and online reporting."

The regional Storyboard Award and Daily Post Prize of $350 went to Jilda Shem, of Vanuatu, for her work on the SPC programme Teaming Up To Combat Dengue and her attachment with the Vanuatu Trading Post.

Christine Gounder won the Fiji Television Prize for her malaria outbreak among the Fiji soldiers in East Timor scoop and other stories while on attachment with the station.

Two video programmes made by second-year journalism students were also shown, Talking Heath about a challenge confronting the nation’s main hospital, and Frontline Reporters about campus-based coverage of the coup.

Award details:

* Newsroom Tanoa and The Review/ Prize ($500) — Salesh Kumar (Fiji Islands, Journalism Student of the Year).

* Storyboard Award and Daily Post Prize ($350) — Jilda Shem (Vanuatu, Best Pacific Regional Student).

* Caines Jannif Prize for Best Editor ($250) — Reggie Dutt (Fiji Islands,Best Student Editor or News Director).

* Caines Jannif Prize for Best Indepth Story ($250) — Matelita Ragogo (Fiji Islands, Best Indepth or Investigative Story).

* Pacific Islands Broadcasting Association (PIBA) Prize ($250) — Tamani Nair (Fiji Islands, Best Radio Journalism Student).

* Fiji Television Ltd Prize ($250) — Christine Gounder (Fiji Islands, Best Television Journalism Student).

* Journalism Programme Prize for the Most Promising First Year Student (Concise Oxford Dictionary) — Joe Yaya (Fiji Islands).

Further information: Coordinator David Robie (212685).

Student Media liaison: Losana McGowan (212199 or 212186).

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PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media, the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, and Pactok Communications, in Sydney and Port Moresby.

E-mail: or 

Fax: (+679) 30 5779 or (+612) 9660 1804

Mail: PO Box 9, Annandale, NSW 2038, Australia or,

c/o Journalism, PO Box 1168, Suva, Fiji

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