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Pacific News Executives To Meet Over Merger

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By Sarika

SUVA (Wansolwara Online/Pacific Media Watch): Executives of the South Pacific region's two major media organisations meet in Fiji tomorrow to discuss ways of implementing an earlier agreement to merge.

The Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) and the Pacific Islands Broadcasting Association (PIBA) agreed to merge during a joint executives meeting at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva in March last year.

But little progress has been since then, causing frustration among the executives.

The meeting will be held Sheraton Denarau Resort, venue of the 25th General Conference of the Commonwealth Broadcasters Association (CBA).

Executives from both PINA and PIBA are attending the conference, which ends tonight.

"Developments have been very slow and I must say I am very disgusted," said Francis Herman, chairman of PIBA and vice-president of PINA.

The lack of progress had adversely affected members with some donor agencies withholding funds.

"This is stuffing up the professional development of media personnel," Herman said.

Internal housekeeping issues in both organisations are the cause of the delay in the merger, he said.

"There were some reservations about certain things at the PIBA meeting in Samoa in July last year.

"Basically there were a lot of questions asked about PINA and PIBA finances. PIBA's accounts have not been audited for quite a few years."

Executives say the merger will prove beneficial for both associations with an amalgamation of ideas and resources.

"Previously, PINA and PIBA divided up the financial resources of the donor agencies," said Lance Polu, president of PINA.

"The associations being formed into one should make things easier and there should be consolidation of what has been happening in the past."



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 based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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