3 Sep 2004

Cooks Opposition says it will ditch government radio station if elected next week

1:25 pm on 3 September 2004

The Opposition in the Cook Islands says a new taxpayer-funded radio station is intended to be a Government propaganda machine.

The leader of the Cook Islands Party, Sir Geoffrey Henry, is vowing to ditch the new state-run service if it wins next week's general election.

The Government has approved a grant of thirty three thousand US dollars to set up the facility.

Sir Henry says the Government has no business competing with the private broadcasting sector.

"My guess is that somewhere along the line, long before the campaigning began, the government had made up its mind that one way to get to the people to make sure that its message and its message alone got to the people, was to have its own radio station."

The Prime Minister, Dr Robert Woonton, has denied any such suggestion and says there's a desperate need for improved radio communications to the outer islands.

He says there's an unhealthy monopoly in the country's broadcasting sector.