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PacificL No TV News For New Caledonia

No TV News For New Caledonia
http://newspad-pacific.info

NOUMEA (Oceania Flash/Pacific Media Watch): New Caledonia's television viewers have once again been deprived of their daily television news, due to a strike staged by the local Kanak and Exploited Workers Union (USTKE).

The strike follows a decision made earlier this month by French broadcaster RFO (French Overseas network) to sack Kanak technician Rock Haocas, who was found guilty of assaulting a cameraman late in 2004.

He was then handed a suspended jail term.

The assault took place at the height of another strike at RFO, in support of Haocas, originally from the Loyalty island of Lifou (north-east of the New Caledonia's main island) who was then demanding a change of employment contract with RFO after he returned from an extensive training in France.

The technician was found guilty of assaulting the cameraman, who was part a RFO non-striking TV news crew covering USTKE's pickets in front of the radio and television station.

The 2004 RFO-New Caledonia strike, which lasted over 100 days (three months) and affected both local radio and television news, remains a record in the French broadcasting sector.

Earlier this month, a local tribunal in the capital Nouméa ruled that Haocas did not qualify for the special provisions defining the status of a "protected" local worker over his position as USTKE representative.

This gave RFO the green light to go ahead with the sacking, which had already been endorsed, on the basis of "grave misconduct", by an internal disciplinary committee meeting.

The new strike is being staged by USTKE in support of Haocas.

The union says the technician's dismissal is out of the question.

As a precondition to the 2004 strike, RFO had initially agreed to "relocate" Haocas and "promote" him to a position dedicated to relations with regional televisions.

© PAD Limited

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