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PINA Needs to Be a 'Watchdog' Not a 'Lapdog', Says PASIMA

RAROTONGA (Pasifika Media Association/Pacific Media Watch): The Pacific region's association of independent media organisations, Pasifika Media Association (Pasima), views with deep concern the attempt this week by a proponent of government censorship to present itself as representative of a free media.

The workshop in Port Moresby organised by the Pacific Islands News Association is tainted by PINA's meek acceptance of and strong support for state censorship, says Pasima in a statement.

This is a flagrant breach of PINA's mission to support media freedom. Through its leadership (though not its total membership), PINA not only accepts state censorship but actively connives at it in Fiji where its general manager has accepted a position with the unconstitutional body that oversees state control of the media.

There is great concern among PasiMA members that PINA will attempt to export this policy to other Pacific countries while falsely claiming to stand for media freedom, says Pasima.

This workshop purports to find a way foward for the media. Pasima states there is no way forward under censorship and that only a renewed commitment to media freedom by all media orgnisations and individuals will suffice to protect and promote the public's right to an uncensored exchange of information and views as enshrined in the UN Bill of Rights.

The Pacific more than ever needs a watchdog today. PINA has become a lapdog.

Pasima urges all media organisations, groups and individuals to take a very strong stand against state censorship as embraced by PINA. By doing otherwise we betray the public's trust.

ENDS

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