Friday, August 26, 2005

Media and Broadcast - Fiji Update

A delegation from femLINKpacific led by Nobel peace prize nominee Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls and Fiji Mediawatch lead by Vice President Peter Emberson recently met with Information Minister Marieta Rigamoto, CEO Emi Rabukawaqa, Director Information Eliki Bomani and Director of Communications Jo Turaganivalu.

They tabled 2 issues for the meeting:
a) Request for update on the broadcasting act
b) tabled letter requesting the reduction / waiver of femLINKpacific’s current community radio license fees (next payment due in October)

They had a very positive response from the Ministry - including from Turaganivalu and CEO who like the Minister acknowledged the work femLINKpacific have begun to undertake at the community level - he even hinted that they should consider community TV as part of the
expansion of femLINK's work (!!!) Turaganivalu actually said that there was no one else doing the type of work / community broadcasting with communities . Ms. Bhagwan-Rolls advised that further rural broadcasts were coming up in the western division of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu and that linked into the call for the need to ensure there are spaces on the FM dial for the expansion of community radio as other communities / groups may also want to start their own CR initiatives but cannot without having a space on the dial.

The group then also approached the issue of licence fee arrangements and MINFO reps have given an assurance that they are reviewing this request - in line with the other licensing arrangements.

Meanwhile the current Broadcast Bill being drafted by the Ministry of Information will address issues of censorship for television programmes and commercials, broadcasting standards and is also to look at cross media ownership.

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