25 Mar 2004

Planned Cook Islands Media Council supported by PM

4:50 pm on 25 March 2004

The Cook Islands Media Association says the Prime Minister, Dr Robert Woonton, is very supportive of its plans to seek help from New Zealand for the establishment of an independent media council.

The association's president, Flo Syme Buchanan, says Dr Woonton has offered to formally invite the New Zealand Press Council chairman, Sir John Jeffries, to Rarotonga.

Dr Woonton has also told the Association he is enthusiastic about the training that the NZPC has offered to conduct in the Cook Islands.

Meanwhile Sir John has already accepted the Association's request.

"They have asked me to come to the Cook Islands and through the [New Zealand] Journalists Training Organisation who are acting as an intermediary and I have indicated that I am prepared to go in much the same that I did last year when I went to Tonga."

Sir John Jeffries.

Last year, he was called in to help establish Tonga's Media Council.

Until the Cook Islands Media Council is established, the government has set up an interim Broadcasting Corporation Board, to meet the provisions of the country's Broadcasting Act.

It will be chaired by the Ombudsman Andrew Turua and include a media representative while the other members will be selected by the Government.