SOLOMON ISLANDS PM'S PRESS SECRETARY ASIPARA THREATENS TO BLACKLIST

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BROADCASTING CORPORATION

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (February 28, 2001 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---The government-owned Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation has been threatened with being put on a government "blacklist" because it broadcast the views of an opposition parliamentarian.

John Asipara, the Press Secretary to Prime Minister, claimed SIBC gave news favors to the MP for East Kwaio, Alfred Sasako.

Mr. Asipara accused SIBC of carrying a news item on Mr. Sasako's call for aid donors not to play double standards by giving financial assistance to the government.

Mr. Sasako said assisting a government not democratically elected to power would be seen as a blatant disregard for the principals of democracy.

Mr. Sasako was a minister of state in the government deposed during the June coup by members of the Malaita Eagle Force militia and elements of the police paramilitary force. It came at the height of the ethnic conflict on Guadalcanal, the island on which the capital, Honiara, is situated.

Mr. Asipara said for SIBC to carry Mr. Sasako's opposing views prior to the high level talks with aid donors on Monday was seen as an intention to aid Mr. Sasako's political motives.

However, SIBC said it gives no privileges to any individual or organization, adding as a matter of principal everybody has the right of reply and to comment on issues of public interest.

The fact that Mr. Sasako's statement was carried prior to the talks had not in anyway indicated SIBC supported his views.

SIBC says if Mr. Asipara denies the corporation news from the government, then only the people of this nation will suffer because they will not hear what the government is doing.

Describing the high level talks with aid donors and development partners as successful, Mr. Asipara called on Mr. Sasako to stop his political bickering.

Mr. Asipara said Sasako should return home from Australia to help take his people and others forward from uncertainty and fear.

Mr. Asipara said despite Mr. Sasako's attempts to disrupt the talks, the response received from aid donors was overwhelming.

Mr. Asipara said Mr. Sasako should wake up to reality.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

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

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