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Radio Pasifik Gagging 'Threatens Free Speech'

Radio Pasifik Gagging 'Threatens Free Speech'

By Heti Fifita and Ashley Gopal

SUVA (Wansolwara Online//Pacific Media Watch): Radio Pasifik believes freedom of speech is under attack at the University of the South Pacific after reports that the station was pulled off air in the student dining hall following a controversial talkback show.

In an interview with Wansolwara Online, station manager Vili Nadaku said he had heard that the dining hall was no longer tuned to the station following a talkback show which broadcast complaints from on-campus students about food quality at the hall.

Radio Pasifik is the student community radio station at the university's Laucala Campus in Suva and broadcasts from the USP Media Centre on 88.8fm.

During a Fijian talkback show last semester, many students complained about the poor food quality served at the dining hall, Nadaku said.

"We invited the manager or someone from the dining hall to co-host the talk back show but no one came."

The station, which airs cultural programmes, such as Hindi or wantok presentations, religious segments, music, current affairs, news and talkback shows, had also received word that it was "yanked off air due to the low quality performance of its announcers".

Dining hall operations manager Rodd Fielding denied the claims, saying the dining hall switched to other radio stations according to students' preferences.

"It is nothing personal," Fielding said.



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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