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Rarotonga: A Service Not Motivated By Dollars

A Service Not Motivated By Dollars

AVARUA, Rarotonga (CIBC/Pacific Media Watch): An essential public service, not a business. That¹s what the proposed state broadcasting station will operate as, confirmed Cook Islands Broadcasting Corporation (CIBC) chairman Andrew Turua.

Turua says the public broadcaster will not be in competition with privately owned radio stations as it won¹t be seeking advertising dollars.

"The whole essence of the proposed national station is that it will be providing a credible and diverse information service to the Cook Islands and it will not be motivated by advertising dollars.

"Advances in technology, sensible management and efficient use of resources all contribute to reducing operational costs. The idea is to streamline the operation of the radio station so that its outputs far outweigh its operational costs.

"There are absolutely no plans to become a commercial station," stated Turua.

Being planned for broadcast are educational programmes for communities and schools, health programmes, children¹s stories, music and cultural programmes, talk-radio, weather bulletins, shipping and aviation, business news, current affairs, hourly international news, national news and regional magazine programmes.

Turua says it will be a truly national station in which all Cook Islanders will be shareholders and the driving force behind it is giving the whole of the Cook Islands a service that people deserve and are entitled to.

Comments made by CIP Opposition leader Sir Geoffrey Henry in response to a report he was provided with have been welcomed by the board, says Turua.

"We¹re pleased that the Cook Islands Party is placing enough importance to make public comment on a concerted move to improve media standards, provide the Cook Islands especially the northern islands with quality informative and educational radio and bring our country on a par with developed nations in terms of media legislation."

Turua says Sir Geoffrey has made numerous positive comments about the CINBC report, but was incorrect in stating that the national radio station would be in direct competition with privately owned broadcasters.

Turua says it is easy to criticize the establishment of a state-broadcaster from the comfort of an armchair in Rarotonga.

"Politicians opposed to a state-owned broadcaster must remember that someone in Pukapuka does not have the privilege of picking up a newspaper, listening to international or national news or linking up to the internet to find out for instance, the weather before going out fishing, shipping and aviation, let alone what is happening in the world."

"And what about our people in the outer islands, particularly in the northern group during cyclone season?

"They too are entitled to ample forewarning that bad weather is on the way so they can prepare themselves sadly, we all know the consequences when our people aren¹t given enough warning, it cost 20 lives in 1997 and we must take all steps necessary to ensure this never happens again."

According to Turua, providing such an essential and diverse broadcasting service to the entire Cook Islands can¹t be labelled "regressive and unacceptable" as has been done by Sir Geoffrey.

"It would be unacceptable if we did not make sure all the islands have a quality radio service, one that informs, educates, entertains and has a signal that can be received by all. Surely, providing that kind of service can¹t be described as regressive."

Turua also pointed out that complaints by Sir Geoffrey that the broadcasting policy had not been discussed with CIP were unfounded, as the CIBC board had attempted to meet with the Opposition leader for sometime without success.

"That¹s why the report was prepared for Sir Geoffrey, as a matter of transparency, accountability and of course, courtesy. We also remind Sir Geoffrey that there are two Cook Islands Party representatives on the CINBC Board, MPs Wilkie Rasmussen and Albert Nicholas."



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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