16 Mar 2004

Cook Islands media told to accept voluntary code

4:25 pm on 16 March 2004

The Cook Islands media is being warned that if it does not accept a code of voluntary guidelines, then the government will legislate over standards.

MP Norman George says a meeting is being called for early next week to discuss the proposed changes with journalists and media company owners.

He says the government would prefer voluntary guidelines and is willing to listen to input as it doesn't have all the answers.

But, Mr George also delivered a warning.

"We would prefer a voluntary system - voluntary guidelines but already, you know, we've been getting indirect threats - whatever you put there, we're not going to take any notice. Well, you know, we'll try the gentlemanly way first and if that doesn't work, then we'll look at legislation."

Mr George says proposed changes would be based on New Zealand's Press Council and Broadcasting Council standards.