22 Dec 2006

Cooks opposition critical of media bill

4:25 pm on 22 December 2006

The opposition Cook Islands Party has condemned moves to regulate the country's news media through a proposed media bill, which would establish a government-controlled media commission.

The Cook Islands Herald says the party leader Henry Puna sees the bill as a threat to the democratic rights of the people, including freedom of expression and information.

The paper says the bill, which is in its ninth draft, is being promoted by what it calls a shadowy group of unelected advisors working out of the office of the deputy prime minister Dr Terepai Maoate.

The prime minister, Jim Marurai, is on record opposing the bill, but Mr Puna says he does not appear to be aware of what was being developed in Dr Maoate's office.