TUVALU MEDIA TOLD TO BE MORE VIGILANT
FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (July 2, 2002 * PACNEWS/Pacific Media
Watch)---Non-government organizations insist the Tuvalu government's tight
control over the local media industry is stifling the freedom of
expression in the country, the PACNEWS news agency reports
NGOs and media representatives at a national workshop on democracy said
government dictated to the sole radio outlet in Tuvalu, the Tuvalu Media
Corporation (TMC), which also publishes the country's monthly newspaper.
They said the TMC's predicament was often misunderstood by the outside
world and was similar to the media industry situation in Niue, where the
government had full control over its media industry.
A former TMC journalist said she was reprimanded a number of times because
of negative reports about the government.
Workshop participants said the media was not independent and free enough
to publish reports deemed to paint a bad picture of the government.
A reporter said journalists were not even at liberty to do investigative
journalism because of the cultural concerns, and authorities were not
However, Kausea Natano -- a former senior civil servant and now a
candidate for the country's upcoming elections -- said TMC reporters and
management were ignorant of their rights under the corporate status of the
He said the whole purpose of turning the national radio into a corporate
body was to ensure its independence from government.
Natano said journalists were thus free to take government to task to
ensure a more transparent and accountable society.
The president of the Tuvalu National Council of Women, Katalaina Malua,
said civil societies in Tuvalu needed training on their role in relation
to government. She said NGOs also needed to know how to effectively take
advantage of the media as a tool in raising their concerns.