French Polynesia's oldest newspaper ceases publication
The Nouvelles de Tahiti daily closes after 57 years of publication after incurring losses.
French Polynesia's oldest daily newspaper is gone.
The Nouvelles de Tahiti was placed into voluntary liquidation - 57 years after it was first published.
Alex du Prel, a veteran journalist who publishes the Tahiti Pacifique monthly, has told Walter Zweifel that in recent years it suffered losses.
ALEX DU PREL: The problem was financial. The turnout in the end, and in the last two and a half years they had lost six million New Zealand dollars. The problem is Tahiti is a very small place, only 270,000 people. Half of them live in the Tahitian world, they don't read newspapers, and more than half of them are under 20 years old, so you have a very small market, it's a micro-market. And the reason this second newspaper has always existed was that Mr Hersant, the former owner of this press group, made sure he had that one to prevent anyone else from putting up another newspaper that would be competition for him. And this was approved at the time by the government which used to pay full-page advertisement for health and you know, all the civil stuff, all the post office and so on.
WALTER ZWEIFEL: How significant was the Nouvelles de Tahiti for democracy, for public debate, for raising issues of concern?
ADP: Well, any newspaper was, is, important for democracy. With Nouvelles, they were, until 2004, until the taui, you know, the change, they wouldn't print anything really tough that would displease the man in power. But after that, after 2004, they kind of specialised in putting on the stories that Mr Flosse had. But it's nice, you had two newspaper, and they were working in competition, so you had a choice. Now we have one daily newspaper - actually we have two, we have another free paper coming out.
WZ: Already any prediction what the implication will be for public discourse now that this main newspaper is gone?
ADP: Well, we have the same phenomenon that has happened in the States or France. The problem is that all daily papers, and even magazines, are in trouble because of the internet competition, you know. In newspapers, the big item that sells is a scoop. Now with all this Facebook and all these other instant messages, it is very hard for newspapers to get scoops because everything is out within a few hours. Sometimes unverified, sometimes wrong, but generally the information is out.
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