4 Dec 2007

Cook Islands Government welcomes establishment of independent media council

4:05 pm on 4 December 2007

The Cook Islands deputy prime minister welcomes the establishment of an independent media watchdog council to ensure press freedom.

Local media has founded the council in response to a bill promoted by the deputy prime minister that proposes to set up a government-controlled media commission.

Sir Terepai Maoate says he's been waiting for years for the media to establish such a council.

"At last we have that in place and I'm very pleased about that. The intention now is to support this media council. I'd like to see this media council do their job and deal with it for the next six months and see how they perform. Then we'll see whether there is any need for the media bill to be taken to the end of it in parliament."

Sir Terepai Maoate says he's seeking legal advice on whether the public is satisfied with a council that has no backing through legislation.

The new council will mainly deal with complaints from and about the media, and help to promote its freedom.