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Cook Is: CITV Manager Says Power Threat Withdrawn

Cook Islands: CITV Manager Says Power Threat Withdrawn

By Jason Brown, Avaiki Nius Agency

AVARUA, Rarotonga (Avaiki Nius Agency/Pacific Media Watch): A threat to cut off power to one of several television transmitters around the capital of this Pacific nation has been withdrawn, says a Cook Islands Television manager.

CITV was given 48 hours to find a new source of electricity after the Secretary of Internal Affairs, Rairi Rairi, objected to criticism published by the station's sister publication, the Cook Islands Herald.

Rairi attacked Pitt Media Group boss George Pitt for allegedly inaccurate reporting, directly linking his decision to cut power to the transmitter with stories in the weekly newspaper.

"This will be the first and the last time that I will reply to any wild accusation that the Pitt media is making against my family.²

A family member is currently under investigation by the Audit Office for alleged wrongdoing as head of the Office of the Prime Minister, a fact reported by the weekly Herald.

In a letter to the opposition daily, Rairi blasted Pitt.

"George, you have definitely lost the plot. How many more people are [you] threatening, how many more are you laying charges against?"

He called on Pitt to ³read the rebuttal reports to the audit report that may bring you out from the dark?²

Rairi heads the ministry which provided temporary housing to one of several transmitters serviced by Telecom Cook Islanders under contract to Cook Islands Television.

Two days after Rairi¹s threat, however, homes receiving signal from the transmitter were still getting a picture.

"At the time of writing this letter, I was informed that Mr Rairi had rescinded on his decision of Tuesday,² wrote Jeane Matenga in a letter to daily Cook Islands News.

If this is correct then I am grateful.²

Signing herself as chief executive of Elijah Communications, one of several companies owned and operated by the Pitt Media Group, Matenga denied claims by Rairi that the station was ³milking² taxpayers' money and did not pay their own power.

The night before, Cook Islands Television showed partial close ups of receipts they said were for power bills paid to Internal Affairs and signed by Rairi.

Matenga distanced Cook Islands Television from comments made in the Herald, part of the Pitt Media Group she and her husband owns with other family members.

³As for the other issues brought up in Tuesday¹s [daily] paper, I will let those concerned answer them, as it is not my place.²



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