#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: PINA pres and scecretariat accused of tolerating Fiji media restrictions

Saturday, April 10, 2010

PINA pres and scecretariat accused of tolerating Fiji media restrictions

In a week where Fiji media are fighting for its survival because of the proposed media decree, the longtime and Suva based news organisation, PINA, has been told to put aside its tolerance of the Fiji media restrictions and pull out of the coup stricken nation.

The crticism has been directed at the president of PINA, Matai Akauola, and the secretariat - and comes from within its own ranks, PINA's vice-president  John Woods.

Wods, the managing director of Cook Island News, has gone public with his criticism saying PINA is ignoring the online discussion among Pacific journalists who want the it to fight the draconian decree, which threatens to imprison journalists, editors and publishers for up to five years and impose fines as heavy as half a million Fiji dollars.

Pacific journalists are also alarmed at the decree provisions that make it easy for the illegal regime to perpetuate its censorship policy by restricting foreign ownership of media organisations to just 10 per cent, a state of affairs which could force the closure of the Fiji Times.

In a story in his own paper, Woods is quoted as being disappointed with PINA's wait-and-see approach, saying it's critical the PINA board come out early and strong on denouncing the decree.

PINA's Fiji-based manager, Matai Akauola, was quoted by Radio New Zealand International as saying it's too early to adopt a strong position on Thursday.

"PINA would like to try to meet with its members, like Fiji TV, Fiji Times, Fiji Sun before we could come to a conclusion on how we see this media decree. You could just gather from the meeting that they have their own point of view, so it would be good to sit down one on one with the various organisations," said Akauola.

But Woods, who last week told media that PINA needs to be leave Fiji because it's 'cowtowing' to censorship under the illegal regime, says the organisation is too dysfunctional to be effective.

Picture: PINA's Matai Akauola (second left from back) with IFEX members Chris Warren of MEAA Australia (back), Owais Ali of PPF in Pakistan, Joel Simon of the global Committee for the Protection of Journalists, and IFJ international head Aidan White (front)


Anonymous said...

Looks like the PINA executive is putting its own creature comforts
and well being before anything else.

If those in Fiji cannot see what's going on? Time PINA was disbanded because its becoming increasingly they've lost the plot.

Anonymous said...

I would've thought Akauola and the secretariat would want to get out of Fiji to somewhere more democratic. Where they can report freely and be able to question, criticise and function as a body represeting pacific journalists, news organisations, and pasifika journalists. One would think Akauola would feel relieved at the burden being removed from him, because it's clear they're boxed ina corner!!

Avaiki Nius said...


Would be nice for PINA members to hear what Matai was doing at the meeting photographed above.

As it is, along with everything else happening inside PINA, it remains top secret.

There are also disturbing suggestions that Matai is "well connected" if not "protected" by authorities in Fiji.

Perhaps Matai might spend less time with his international constituency and more with his regional one.


Anonymous said...

So where does PINA receive its funds from? Who paying Akauola's salary?

Anonymous said...

Matai is only an employee of PINA so throwing mud at him is a bit unfair.

Avaiki Nius said...

. . .

Not really.

We wouldn't be picking on Matai or anyone else at PINA if the secretariat was doing what it is supposed to:

Respond to requests from members and intending members.

. . .

Anonymous said...

It's not the first time PINA has been in the limelight but it's certainly the right time for it to get a 'lil publicity. It's pretty major what's happening in Fji with the media decre so to hear that the association is comfortable where it's at, is worrying. And it is a time for the association to be leading the convoy of criticism against the media, because it will surely bring an end to the freedom of media. This is not about the Fiji Times only, this is about the young journalists, the proof readers, the technical support, editors and publishers being robbed of their livelihood, their rights and their profession. And it's also about the community being robbed of its right to choose where it gets its information from and who it believes. Wakey wakey PINA.

Anonymous said...

doesn't the fact that matai has faith in fiji still, suggest it's worth the fight to stay on fiji? any departure by pina from suva will be a loss. but i agree, as one of the oldest news organisations in the region, representing many pacific journalists, matai and secretariat need to speak up against the decree. wot they waiting for? for it to be passed to comment?

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