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Panpa Bulletin : April 2006
10 | PaNPa bUlletiN april 2006 The International Fed- eration of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned about reports that newspaper employers in New Zealand have tried to undermine the working rights of journalists by illegally listening in on conference calls between the union and staff del- egates. The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU), which represents staff at APN newspapers, raised the complaint with police when phone records showed unauthorised calls were made into weekly phone conferences with staff delegates. The unau- thorised calls allegedly came from a number used by APN daily The Hawke's Bay Today and APN's regional offices in Hastings. At the time of the calls the EPMU was negotiating with APN New Zealand Ltd for collective agreements cover- ing several APN Newspa- pers including Hawke's Bay Today, Wairarapa Times-Age, the Wanganui Chronicle and the Chronicle. The confer- ence calls were organised to allow authorised delegates from the workplaces to coor- dinate a bargaining strategy. "It is a grave concern that an employer would stoop so low as to illegally eavesdrop on their staff during negotia- tions for collective agree- ments," said IFJ president Christopher Warren. Alarm bells rang at EPMU when APN management representatives involved in the negotiations were aware of matters that had only been discussed during EPMU's conference calls. The phone records indi- cate that nine out of twelve weeks the unauthorised caller logged on to the call 10 minutes before its sched- uled start time and was the last to log off. From Pacific Media Watch Online, www.pmw.c2o.org Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for a meeting of police officials in Papua province following an assault by police- men and students on seven journalists on 16 April 2006. The journalists, in three separate groups, were trying to cover student protests at Cendrawasih University in Jayapura, Papua province. The national daily, Kompas, said three television report- ers from stations RCTI and TV7 were standing in front of a police office when a group of policemen assaulted them. According to the report, police kicked and beat up the report- ers, who sustained injuries on their mouths, eyes and arms as a result of the attack. Their cameras were also damaged. Kompas said a few policemen and some town residents final- ly intervened and put a stop to the beating. Meanwhile, ANTV camera- man Mahendra Dewanata was also reported to have been beaten up by another group of policemen. He too had his video camera broken. Finally, three newspaper journalists, Cunding Levi from Tempo, Aryo from Kompas, and Robert Vanwi Subiat from Suara Pembarua, were attacked while covering the demonstration.. Cunding Levi said he avoided a road block by passing through a campus build- ing when he came across a group of protesting students. Although he held up his press card, Levi said the students kicked and hit him until he fainted. The incidents have been roundly condemned by journalist groups in Indonesia. The Provincial Police Chief has publicly apologised. From Pacific Media Watch Online, www.pmw.c2o.org A prominent lawyer and former journalist has advised the media to have its 'defama- tion antennas' up during Fiji's general elections in May. Speaking at a three-day Fiji media and election work- shop at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Richard Naidu said the media became susceptible to attacks from politicians during elections. Fiji goes to the polls for the week-long general election the second since since Speight 's coup of 2000 on May 6 to13. Naidu told local and regional journalists that while politi- cians may be more accessible to journalists during an elec- tion year, they were always in a 'fearsome attack mode' during this period. "The media is attacked for bias and not fairly reporting one party against another party. You must restrain your- self from the desire to retaliate in a way that is not objective or fair," Naidu said. He reminded journalists that Fiji's defamation law favoured the plaintiff. He also pointed out that a candidate in an election had no greater rights than anybody else. Journalists could use 'truth and justifi- cation' as defences against defamation but would still have to prove by balance of probabilities that everything on the document or what was said was true. The workshop was hosted by the Democracy and the Electoral Studies Programme in collaboration with the Fiji Electoral Commission/Elec- tions Office. There were 20 registered participants from Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Tonga. The major- ity of the participants were from Fiji news organisations. From Pacific Media Watch Online, www.pmw.c2o.org Popular Good Weekend column Two of Us is to be turned into a television series, to be run on SBS later this year. Two of Us will draw on nine years of successful stories in Good Weekend and add new couples as the series explores the kinds of relationships that bindus.TwoofUsisoneof the most read columns in the country. Good Weekend has a national circulation of 658,285 and a reader- ship of almost 1.8 million. Good Weekend editor Judith Whelan said, "Two ofUsisoneofthemost loved and anticipated col- umns in the country. These stories of people and their relationships are moving, inspiring and enriching taking readers beyond their own lives and experi- ence. Cordell Jigsaw will bring together great story- telling and entertainment in the same way Two of Us does in Good Weekend." SBS programming director Matt Campbell is thrilled to have secured the series. "It's a perfect fit for the schedule and our audience demographic. Two of Us will form a key plank in our post World Cup line-up this year." The series will be pro- duced by Cordell Jigsaw, the company established by leading factual film maker Michael Cordell and Jigsaw Entertainment's Nick Murray. "The column and series are a wonderful celebra- tion of love and friendship. Each episode is full of optimism. We're confi- dent it has the potential to become a long-run- ning fixture on SBS," said Cordell. APN accused of listening in Two of us hits the screen Journalists assaulted in Papua Journos warned about Fiji elections By Sakiasi Nawaikama and Erica Lee