FIJI MEDIA CHIEFS SLAM ROBIE REPORT

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (December 15, 2000 - Fiji's Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---Fiji media bosses are not happy with criticisms made by University of the South Pacific's journalism coordinator, New Zealander David Robie, regarding the local media's coverage of the May 19 coup.

Mr. Robie's criticisms were contained in a paper he presented at a journalism conference in Australia last week.

(See: Coup-Coup Land: The Press And The Putsch In Fiji)

Fiji TV chief executive Ken Clarke said: "It was inappropriate for Robie to compare a six-year old TV station in a developing economy with TV stations overseas that have been operating for longer periods in more structured economies."

Pacific Islands News Association president William Parkinson said that although the Robie paper portrayed an accurate reflection on some of the issues, it was not balanced and fair.

"I find his comments very biased as he failed to acknowledge a lot of the brave work that was done by local journalists under the circumstances," he said. "The media in Fiji needs to work with the journalism school at USP and comments like this don't help fulfill this cause."

Fiji Times publisher Alan Robinson said contents of the Robie paper were academically and professionally dishonest.

Mr. Robinson denied that the Fiji Times was engaged in a "relentless campaign against the deposed Coalition government.

"Out of the 106 editorials we ran on the Coalition government, 54 were in favor and 52 against," he said.

He said The Fiji Times would lodge a formal complaint against the Robie paper with the USP administration.

Reacting to the allegations, Mr. Robie said the media executives had missed the point.

In a letter published by the Daily Post, Mr. Robie also criticized a PINA Nius Online report about his paper published by the Daily Post. He called it "an example of precisely the sort of distorted, unfair journalism and misrepresentation that part of my paper deals with."

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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