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Radio Pasifik To Stay Open

* See PMW items 2638, 2635

* Live audio report from Radio Pasifik: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/audio/radpac2.rm

SUVA: Radio Pasifik, the University of the South Pacific's student FM station, will not close down, according to the station's news broadcasts today.

The radio quoted Melissa Koster, president of the Lusman Association, an affiliate of the USP Students Association, as saying that a student council meeting last night decided that the radio station would keep broadcasting.

She told the radio that the council voted to pay a $12,000 debt to the USP Media Centre to fund running the station.

The centre manages the four-year-old station on behalf of the students.

Ms Koster said council members had spoken out in favour of keeping the radio open after the USP executive faced controversy over media reports of their moves to pull out of broadcasting.

According to Radio Pasifik, the station had "been under a cloud" over its future and a front page report in this week's journalism training newspaper Wansolwara had said the station's future was "in limbo".

The newspaper's editor had challenged USPSA president Veresi Bainivualiku, a former radio journalist, for "answers please" over Radio Pasifik and a campus budget controversy involving F$27,000.

"What is the cost-cutting for and why the need for it all of a sudden?" the editorial asked.

"Just three weeks ago, [Bainivualiku] told Wansolwara he was enthusiastic about improving Radio Pasifik. A week later, the association secretary circulated a letter announcing that the 'new officers' wanted to relinquish ties with Radio Pasifik.

"And the president failed to turn up at a subsequent meeting called by the USPSA to discuss Radio Pasifik."

It is believed that the Media Center and the journalism programme are mooting plans to broadcast regionally through the university's new $13 million 12-nation telecommunications system, USPNet 2000.

+++niuswire

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.

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