29 Nov 2003

Row continues in Fiji over contract for Hindi language broadcasts

10:09 am on 29 November 2003

Fiji's information minister, Simone Kaitani, has expressed concern that the award of the Hindi language public service broadcasting contract to a private company will severely affect the state-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.

The Fiji Times quotes Mr Kaitani as saying that his ministry had recommended that both the Fijian and Hindi Language contracts be given to the government broadcaster

But, he says, he has accepted the decision which may lead to the closure of the Hindi language Radio Fiji 2 service of the FBC.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Labour Party has alleged corruption in the award of the Hindi language contract to Communications Fiji Limited.

Fiji TV reports that Labour MP, Pratap Chand, made the allegation in parliament and called for the tender to be cancelled and given back to the state-owned Fiji Broadcasting Corporation which has held it for the last six years.

Another Labour MP, Saten Singh, said the decision would result in the closure of the FBC's Hindi service, leaving no competition and a deteriorating service.

The party will file a motion in parliament next week seeking an urgent inquiry into the contract.

The Citizens Constitutional Forum says the decision is racist and the government has kept the Fijian language service with the FBC to broadcast its propaganda.