|Pacific Media Watch|
Media body rejects Anthony report
Title -- 5357 FIJI: Media body rejects Anthony report
Date -- 7 March 2008
Byline -- None
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
Source -- The Fiji Times 7/03/08
Copyright - FT
Status -- Unabridged
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MEDIA BODY REJECTS REPORT
SUVA (FT Online/Pacific Media Watch): The findings in a report on the media would not be accepted because it lacked credibility, the Fiji Media Council told Pacnews yesterday.
The report by Hawaiian academic Dr James Anthony described the Media Council, which represents the news owners, as ineffective.
Council chairman Daryl Tarte told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat programme that the report commissioned by the director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission, Dr Shaista Shameem, did not have credibility.
"Unfortunately, she engaged a person of questionable reputation who came here obviously with an agenda and has handed down a report which will certainly not be accepted by the media in Fiji," Tarte said.
The Fiji media refused to make submissions to Dr Anthony's report, with its findings based on information from anonymous media sources.
Tarte said he hoped the interim government would not accept the report's recommendations without first conducting an inquiry.
"I would be very concerned, yes, but I'd like to think the government would consult with the media and media council before they tried to implement any of the provisions of the recommendations in the report."
The report was released just days after the publisher of the Fiji Sun newspaper, Russell Hunter, was expelled after the interim government claimed he was a danger to national security.
The report on media freedom in Fiji, released last week, has called for more government control.
Dr Shameem said Tarte's comments were not surprising as he did not cooperate with the inquiry in the first place and had declined to participate.
"There is no point in him crying over spilt milk. As the consultant pointed out, it would be to the media's advantage, as part of the democratic agenda for the future, to give their views.
"Whether or not some elements of the media accept what the public think about the media, as they communicated to Dr Anthony is up to them.
"They have to listen to the audience, that is the discerning public, after all.
"They could take a leaf out of the Daily Post and act more sensibly on the issue of self-review," she 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. It is now published by the Pacific Media Centre at New Zealand's AUT University. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Programme at the University of the South Pacific, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG) and the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. The website is hosted by the Association of Progressive Communications (APC).
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