FIJI GOVERNMENT WANTS ‘REGULATED DEREGULATION’ OF MEDIA

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Daily to close down soon: Qarase

SUVA, Fiji (Oct. 14, 2002 - The Sun/Pacific Media Watch)---The Fiji government supports deregulation of the media, but Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase stressed it should still be regulated, reports The Sun.

"I must stress that the government of the day supports regulated deregulation," Qarase said in parliament yesterday when replying to a question raised by Fiji Labour Party parliamentarian Satendra Singh.

Singh had asked if there were plans to invite other television companies to operate in Fiji in order to create competition and to encourage better services, providing a choice to the viewing public.

Labour leader Mahendra Chaudhry said that since the government favored deregulation, he did not see any reason why it was not inviting other television companies to operate in Fiji.

Qarase said his government supported deregulation of media, but still wants to maintain regulations.

He said the government would like Fiji TV One to improve its services, but not through deregulation.

The prime minister said that what government wanted in Fiji was "regulated deregulation."

Any deregulation must be good for all parties, he said.

In citing a "good example" on the Fiji market, Qarase said that currently there were three daily newspapers, but the prices were still high.

He said of the dailies, that one (Fiji Times) had a good backing but the other two (Daily Post and The Sun) were really struggling, and one would soon be closing down.

Chaudhry said that the people had the right to choose, but with the case of television in the country, they were denied this right.

Qarase said Fiji TV One executives had promised there would be an improvement.

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