Thursday, March 06, 2008

PINA rejects petition claims to Rudd

Below is a statement made by the Pacific Islands News Association after a report appeared on The National PNG alleging that PINA President Joseph Ealedona was to submit a petition by Journalists to the Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd who will be visiting Port Moresby soon.

Kevin Rudd Australia PM and Joseph Ealedona President of PINA. (Photos by ABC and Newsline)

JAWS expreses full endorsement of the statement below:


The Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) will not petition the Australian Government to remove Fiji from participating in the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) in the Solomon Islands as suggested by a group of Pacific journalists.

President Joseph Ealedona says the removal of Fiji from RAMSI is an issue for regional governments. PINA’s is to raise its concerns relating to media freedom and freedom of expression.

Mr Ealedona’s comments follow a front page story in the Papua New Guinea National Newspaper indicating the PINA president would present a petition to the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to remove Fiji from RAMSI. Mr Rudd is currently touring PNG.

“I have formally requested an audience with the Australian Prime Minister through the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby but it’ll depend on Mr Rudd’s timetable,” Mr Ealedona said.

The PINA president says letters of concern are also being sent to the Governments of PNG and New Zealand to put pressure on the Interim Fiji Government to change its hard-line stance against media freedom in Fiji.

“PINA has also written to the Fiji government stating its concern on the deportation of Fiji Sun Editor in Chief Mr Russell Hunter and has requested that Mr Hunter be allowed back into Fiji.”

Mr Ealedona has at the same time urged the media in the region to approach the matter sensibly and use it as a stepping stone to an all-out effort to strengthen and advocate for a free media that is objective and responsible to the people of the region….ENDS