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COOK IS: Journalist warns of media crisis

COOK IS: Journalist warns of media crisis


AUCKLAND (Café Pacific/Pacific Media Watch): Cook Islands freelance journalist Jason Brown has described the country's news industry as being in crisis but says the timing of the government media review should be viewed with suspicion.

Writing in an open letter to the Cook Islands News today, Brown said any serious attempt at media reform should be transparent and accountable.

He also said his comments were "not another shot in the so-called media war".

Brown wrote that while journalists followed a code of ethics, managers did not follow any code.

The Cook Islands media was far healthier five years ago and it was the only institution trusted by a majority of the people, Brown wrote, citing the 1998 Political Review Commission.

But now the media was "an industry in crisis".

"Finding out why may be uncomfortable, for both journalists and managers in the industry, and government," Brown wrote.

"If reforms are ever to have any lasting chance of succeeding, however, we must start with the industry that did most to begin the process: the news media.

"But does government in fact have valid concerns about the ongoing crisis in the news media? Or are they just trying to shut the industry down before general elections?

"Certainly the timing should be regarded with suspicion."

If the Cook Islands government was really serious about media reform, "then we will be able to judge that seriousness by their actions," Brown wrote.

Full letter at Cafe Pacific:



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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