11 Jul 2019

No denial to TV news access says Pacific Games broadcaster

5:11 pm on 11 July 2019

Samoa's public have not been receiving televised news footage from the Pacific Games despite being the host country.

The entrance to the Pacific Games village

The entrance to the Pacific Games village Photo: RNZ Pacific / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Local news networks said they'd been shut out by the host broadcaster and the local licence holder who, in turn, said it was not the case.

TV1 said the local licence holder TV3 and host broadcaster MMG (Melanesian Medi Group) had shut out local news content through onerous broadcast fees and conditions on using games footage.

Conditions included charging local stations $US750 for three minutes of daily content which could not be used until two hours after the event.

A revised offer, including 55 minutes of daily highlights free of charge, was rejected as footage could not be used until 24 hours after release.

No recorded games footage has been shown on local television news.

However, both the host broadcaster and the broadcasting minister say there are no restrictions for accredited local television journalists recording and interviewing at the games for their networks' news.

Samoa Minister of Communications and Information Technology Afamasaga Rico Tupa'i speaking at the soft launch of radio 2ap new FM statio

Afamasaga Rico Tupa'i Photo: Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

There appeared to be some confusion according to the Broadcasting Minister Afamasaga Lepuia'i Rico Tupa'i who said the only restrictions on television networks is on broadcasting live from games' venues.

"Local broadcasters are allowed to go inside the venues and film news, film footage of the competition, film interviews with athletes and then go do their news," Afamasaga said.

"The only thing that they're not entitled to do - which belongs to the host broadcaster locally - is to broadcast live any events."

A spokesperson from the Singapore based host broadcaster MMG, Richard Broadridge, told RNZ Pacific that restrictions around the use of footage from local broadcaster TV3 was to protect their investment which was in excess of $US190,000.

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