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France Renews Support To Regional Media

France Renews Support To Regional Media Organisations

SUVA, February 26 (Oceania Flash) - The French government last week renewed its support to Fiji-based Pacific regional media bodies - namely the University of the South Pacific's school of journalism and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)'s Regional Media Centre.

Fiji-based French ambassador Jean-Pierre Vidon last week pledged further support to the USP's journalism school, which was initially set up with French assistance back in 1993.

For the year 2002, the French assistance totals some 32,000 Fiji dollars (around 16,000 US) for the journalism school, including scholarships for two students who this year are furthering their journalism academic studies.

They are Kelera Muavesi, 25, one of the "anchors" of Fiji Television news and Mathew Yakai, 27, from Papua New Guinea's 100 FM radio station.

Journalism school co-ordinator and senior lecturer David Robie stressed French scholarship recipients had in the past always been "high achievers" since the scheme was initiated five years ago and that he hoped this year's recipients would follow the same tracks.

France's overall aid to USP had so far materialised to the benefit of such topics as literature, languages, sports for a total of about 170,000 US dollars per year.

A similar amount was again earmarked for this year.

Vidon also announced that this year a USP Journalism lecturer would be invited to visit the neighbouring French territory of New Caledonia's media and that a journalist from French Polynesia would be invited to give a series of lectures at USP, in order to further promote links and exchange between the media of the whole Pacific region.

Last week also, Vidon renewed France's commitment to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) 's Regional Media Centre, which hosts an "information and media development" office.

One of the main functions of this office is to disseminate information daily by electronic mail, in French and in English, to the whole Pacific and beyond.

One of the components of this service, which works on the general principle of a press review, is the e-mail service called Oceania Flash.

"This service promotes news exchange, not just among Pacific islanders, but also beyond the Pacific", SPC's Senior Deputy Director General Dr Jimmie Rodgers said last week.

"The Media Centre had benefited since the establishment of this programme: we've had feed back not only from the Pacific region, but also from outside, of readers acknowledging the importance and value this very important service has created", he told the French diplomat.

"It seems obvious to me that the Pacific region has much to gain in building closer relationships between its member countries...In this age of globalisation and modern communications, isolationism would certainly have ill-fated economic consequences", Vidon said.

Vidon said he believed the process of building a group spirit, "a regional fraternity, requires frequent contacts and exchange of views. New updates on main issues are essential to decision-makers and to the media, on a daily basis. Forging these links and bridges is precisely the main objective of the project which brings us together today.

Oceania Flash and Flash d'Océanie, the French and English language news services of the SPC regional media centre, disseminate press reviews by e-mail. It is read every day not only by Pacific residents, but all over the world by people with a particular interest in the region."



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