World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Cook Islands Govt Seeks Libel Action Over Spoof

* Pacific Media Watch Online - check the website for archive and links:
http://www.pmw.c2o.org/
* Post a comment on this story at PMW's Right of Reply:
http://www.voy.com/166636/

GOVERNMENT SEEKS LIBEL ACTION OVER SPOOF LETTER


AVARUA, Rarotonga (Govmed/CIN/RNZI/Pacific Media Watch): The Cook Islands government has moved to file a lawsuit against newspaper and television owner George Pitt over publication of a spoof letter by one of the Pitt Media Group's publications, local media report.

A government media release reported that the Crown Law office had filed an application for leave to charge Pitt with libel.

Prime ministerial adviser Norman George said the application would be heard in the High Court on Monday.

The Crown has engaged New Zealand lawyer William Arkle to represent the government.

The lawsuit bid follows the publication of a satirical letter - purportedly from Prime Minister Dr Robert Woonton to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao - challenging government support for the "one China" policy. The letter was published last week in the Herald, one of three newspapers owned by the PMG.

"Although the letter was in no way connected with government, some people were fooled into thinking it was genuine - especially as the letter was published in the newspaper¹s opinion section," the government statement said.

George reportedly said that some cabinet ministers and many citizens thought the letter was genuine.

"George Pitt now claims it was an attempt at humour and that people should have known it wasn¹t for real because it was on the opinion page," Norman George was quoted as saying.

"But in the past, just about everything on the opinion page has been a biased and unfair attack on government.

"As a result, my first thought was that there had been a serious security leak in the Office of the Prime Minister.

"It looked so real that some ministers reacted adversely to the prime minister. To make matters worse, the advertisement on TV that promoted it gave this letter the further appearance of authenticity ­ as though the prime minister had written some kind of crazy letter."

George said the incident had been reported widely around the Pacific.

"What the overseas media should remember is that what might pass for humour to the people of New Zealand and Australia does not necessarily appear as humour to the average person in the Cook Islands," Norman George said.

George said such incidents were a factor in the government pushing for the establishment of an "independent media council" that would maintain a "reasonable standard of reporting".

Radio New Zealand International reported Pitt as claiming the government was "clutching at straws" and could not take a joke.

"It¹s almost like if anyone says something that they disagree with, they try to shut them up in some way," Pitt told the radio.

"We¹ve been threatened and we¹ve got a defamation summons to appear in court; they¹ve threatened us with our licences.

"It just goes on and on and on but this latest episode is just ludicrous. It¹s like government is clutching at straws. That¹s the type of government that we currently have to live under."

Link to the spoof letter: http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2004/May/05-13-letter.htm

+++niuswire

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH ONLINE http://www.pmw.c2o.org

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).

(c)1996-2004 Copyright - All rights reserved.

Items are provided solely for review purposes as a non-profit educational service. Copyright remains the property of the original producers as indicated. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright owner for any publishing. Copyright owners not wishing their materials to be posted by PMW please contact us. The views expressed in material listed by PMW are not necessarily the views of PMW or its members.

Recipients should rely on their own inquiries before making decisions based on material listed in PMW. Please copy appeals to PMW and acknowledge source.

For further information, inquiries about joining the Pacific Media Watch

listserve, articles for publication, and giving feedback contact Pacific

Media Watch at: E-mail: delaro@clear.net.nz pcronau@hotmail.com Fax: (+679) 30 5779 or (+612) 9660 1804 Mail: PO Box 9, Annandale, NSW 2038, Australia or, PO Box 78028, Auckland 1002, New Zealand. New website: www.pmw.c2o.org


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news