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UTS Hosts Censored News

SYDNEY: The home page of the University of Technology, Sydney, is hosting exclusive reports from student journalists at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva after the students' news site was shut down.

USP journalism coordinator David Robie, who is also a UTS Masters journalism graduate, said the Pacific Journalism Online site was disconnected late on May 29, following the attack on Fiji TV.

Vice-Chancellor Esekia Solofa said a decision was made to shut down the website for "security reasons".

A team of 20 student journalists were providing extensive coverage of the political crisis in Fiji, via the site, which was updated hourly.

Since the closure, daily reports from Pacific Journalism Online have been hosted via UTS's homepage.

Mr Robie said the decision to close the site was a "terrible blow for freedom of speech and democracy".

UTS online journalism coordinator Fran Molloy said UTS would continue to update and post the students' reports and photos "as long as as they keep coming to us".

"We offered to host the entire site, but David (Robie) is already in negotiation with the University of the South Pacific about the site, so we didn't want to jeopardise its future any further," she said.

"This is a great example of how international co-operation and the use of the Internet can get around political censorship."

According to a report on Pacific Journalism Online, news of the coup was broken by a final-year journalism student on a six-week attachment at Radio Fiji.

"I don't know of any other journalism school that has covered an attempted coup as part of the general course programme," remarked Mr Robie.

• To view the USP students' reports, go to UTS's Department of Journalism and Social Communication: http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/

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