15 Feb 2007

PINA says it not involved in debate over conference funding

11:18 am on 15 February 2007

The President of the Pacific Islands News Association says he's been assured there will be no strings attached to Taiwanese funding to help Solomon Islands' host this year's PINA conference.

China has voiced concern that the Media Association of Solomon Islands (or MASI) has accepted 65-thousand US dollars for the conference from Taipei, and is allowing a Taiwanese delegation to attend the conference.

PINA president Ken Clark says he's spoken with Alfred Sasako, who heads the MASI secretariat organising the PINA conference, and has "cleared some air" over the issue.

Mr Clark, who says PINA was not previously consulted about the funding, insists PINA will not be involved in the controversy surrounding Taiwan's involvement.

"This is about media, media training, media professionalism and those sorts of media freedom particularly. And those are the sorts of issues that we need to concentrate on as opposed to any kind of artificial discussion created because Taiwan and China don't get along or don't agree on certain matters."