16 Apr 2004

Cooks Islands Prime Minister looks to free up the airwaves

12:59 pm on 16 April 2004

The Cook Islands Prime Minister, Dr Robert Woonton, says he has received several bids to set up rival radio and TV services in the country and has claimed that existing licence holders are not fulfilling the terms of their contracts.

Since last month there has been a debate over the state of the media and the guidelines and licences that govern TV, radio and newspapers after the government expressed dissatisfaction with the current situation.

Now the Cook Islands News reports that the Prime Minister is calling for the introduction of minimum standards of reporting across all media and has revealed that there are about three serious applications for new radio stations.

Dr Woonton says there's a monopoly in TV and radio which he sees the Pitt Group as controlling, and would like to see some competition introduced.

He has also reiterated his concern that there are no media standards in place.

Dr Woonton says the government is looking at introducing similar controls as in New Zealand for some kind of standard that respects both the individual and common decency.