Opinion

Leading PINA again

Questions over change in media body’s status OPINION By KALAFI MOALA (Publisher of the Taimi Media Network, Tonga. The following is an abridged version of a longer article published by
19 Feb 2014 09:13

Questions over change in media body’s status

OPINION
By KALAFI MOALA

(Publisher of the Taimi Media Network, Tonga. The following is an abridged version of a longer article published by Pacific Media Watch)

Noumea: Media stakeholders and members of the regional media organisation PINA found out at their summit in Noumea, New Caledonia, last week that it has been recently registered in Fiji as a limited liability company: Pacific Islands News Association Limited.
Explanations about why PINA needed to incorporate ranged from the need for the organisation to become more accountable and transparent, to that it would make it easier for donors to give money to a corporate entity.
It was pointed out that this move had first been proposed in a consultant’s report adopted by a previous executive board.
Reactions from participants at the Pacific Islands News Association’s Third Pacific Media Summit were mixed. There were those who questioned the reasons given.
Others questioned the fact that the process of PINA getting registered has not been conducted in transparency, as most of the stakeholders and members did not know about it until the Noumea summit.
In fact, what was needed in Noumea from the membership was simply to rubber stamp a decision and action that has already been carried out in Fiji.

Governance,
transparency
PINA president Moses Stevens, of Capital 107 FM Vanuatu, said: “This status means a strengthening of our accountability and governance from a charitable organisation.”
He said that the company status means that PINA has to file periodic reports to the Registrar of Companies in Fiji, and this will ensure good governance and transparency within PINA.
When the announcement was made at the AGM, members were told that legal advice has been given in Fiji that they should retain the same board and officers for the next two years. This was as “a transition period” while the new entity is being developed.
Therefore, no elections, and no change to the office holders at the AGM.
PINA’s constitution was first adopted in Samoa in 1986, and the association registered there. It was later shifted to Fiji where the secretariat is located.

Defending media
freedom
A former PINA president, Monica Miller, of Radio 93KHJ-FM, American Samoa, who was at the summit, appealed to the members of PINA to uphold the original reason for which the organisation was founded: to defend media freedom.
Miller claimed too many media organisations have abandoned PINA, and that PINA no longer enjoys the confidence of many of its former members.
During the seven years Miller led PINA, the organisation was seen as the major champion of media freedom in the Pacific Islands.


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