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Australia Dismisses Pacific Media Criticism

Australia Dismisses Criticism Of Pacific Media Facility

WELLINGTON (RNZI Online/Pacific Media Watch): The Australian government is dismissing concerns from some Pacific media operators angry at the way AusAID is setting up its Pacific Media Communications Facility (PMCF) aid project.

The editor of the Fiji Sun newspaper, Russell Hunter, says it has been difficult getting information about the PMCF, which he thought was to provide training for journalists but he says its a vehicle for implementing good governance in the region.

His criticisms were published in the December edition of the Suva-based Islands Business magazine in a column by editor-in-chief Laisa Taga.

However, AusAID¹s Assistant Director for the Pacific, Margaret Thomas, says they have been widely consultative and open about the programme¹s aim of supporting governance in the Pacific.

³Having a strong media and having a media that can report on government, accountability and transparency issues is a very important contribution to good governance and this is what this programme is trying to do.²

Hunter says they are also annoyed that AusAID is conducting a survey of needs, which is "not necessary and insulting".

Thomas says taking part in the survey is optional but so far 165 people in 14 countries have spoken with them.

© RNZI 2004



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.

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