4 Aug 2003

PINA squabbling over the location of its headquarters

4:16 pm on 4 August 2003

A Samoan government offer to provide the headquarters for the Pacific Island News Assocation (PINA), if the organisation moves to Apia, has fuelled debate among the region's journalists and dragged in the Deputy Prime minister, Misa Telefoni.

The Journalist Association of Samoa or JAWS is campaigning to move PINA from Suva to Apia, where it was created and registered in 1986.

Fiji-based journalist, Robert Keith-Reid, accused his Samoan colleagues of having an inferiority complex towards Fiji and called the government's offer a bribe.

However, the JAWS president Apulu Lance Polu, who has just been made PINA president, says the development of the association has been hampered by personal differences between several people in Fiji.

Apulu says media freedom wouldn't be compromised if the government's offer was accepted.

Misa Telefoni says the offer was made because the government believes in PINA and the principles that PINA stands for.

The owner of the Samoa Observer, Savea Sano Malifa, says the offer should be taken seriously but it should only be accepted if there are no strings attached.