17 Sep 2003

Samoa Observer owner denies rival media organisation being set up

10:44 am on 17 September 2003

The owner of the Samoa Observer is denying that there are any moves afoot in the country to set up a rival media organisation to the two existing regional bodies.

Savea Sano Malifa says the assertions by Francis Herman, the chairman of the Pacific Islands Broadcasting Association, are PIBA, are unfounded.

PIBA is shortly to merge with the Pacific Islands News Association, PINA, so that the region is represented by one media organisation.

Savea, along with several other PINA members, was critical of the merger at the recent PINA convention in Apia but is now supportive of it.

"As far as I'm aware, there is no such organisation being set up in Apia. We are very happy with the way PINA has been and still is and we have gone along with the merger with people it's just a matter of sorting out some problems that have yet to be sorted out"

But Mr Herman says he stands by his assertions.

We would not make statements like that if we were not sure of our facts. There was a fall back position by some of our colleagues the Samoans made it quite clear to us that in the event that this didn't go this way or that way there was going to be a new organisation formed so they appeared to be the ones spearheading it.

Mr Herman says the region is too small to have two organisations, let alone three, which is why the merger of PINA and PIBA is going ahead.