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Radio Pasifik On Air Again After Funds Row

By Amanda Smith
USP Journalism Programme

SUVA: Radio Pasifik, the student radio station of the regional University of the South Pacific, has reopened following months of controversy and unpaid bills.

Radio Pasifik closed down following Fiji's attempted coup on May 19 which forced the university to shut.

The radio station remained closed following the reopening of the university on August 7 after the students had incurred debts of more than $3000 dollars.

The radio station reopened following the intervention from the university administration, as reported in yesterday's Wansolwara journalism training newspaper.

The newspaper had earlier in the year exposed efforts by the student administration to close the four-year-old FM radio station.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Rajesh Chandra pledged that USP would ensure payment to enable Radio Pasifik to start broadcasting again.

A memo from Professor Chandra to the director of the Media Centre, Gerald Farkas, stated that the university would "underwrite the amount to be paid by the University of South Pacific's Student Association" (USPSA).

The money has not been paid to the Media Centre yet. However, the Media Centre is providing services to the radio station under the agreement that the university will pay off the debt.

Radio station manager Maraia Lesuma said the university administration had the power to take funds from the USPSA. However, it was still unclear where the money to pay the debt would come from.

Radio Pasifik is funded by USPSA and is jointly run with the Media Centre which provides technical support and other services to the radio station.

Ms Lesuma was critical of USPA president Veresi Bainivualiku's dealings with the Media Centre.

Bainivualiku was contacted by Wansolwara reporters but refused to be interviewed or give any comment.

* It is understood that a student lobby group favours the radio being run jointly by the journalism programme and the Media Centre with a regional broadcasting mandate.



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