4 Dec 2007

Cook Islands media council established by industry as government develops its own media control body

2:23 pm on 4 December 2007

The Cooks Islands media has established an independent media watchdog council to ensure media freedom.

The council, which is to be chaired by a high court judge, was formed in response to a bill that proposes to set up a government-controlled media commission.

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

The political editor at the Cook Islands Herald, Charles Pitt, says it was time the media took the initiative to set up such a council.

"The timing is right for a media council. The government has also been looking at setting up a media council. This is the industry's response. The industry doesn't want a media bill and we want to demonstrate that the media can be self-governing, self-regulating."

Charles Pitt doesn't think the new council will have a big impact on the day to day news operations.