Pacific News Briefs

compiled by Samoa News staff

UPDATE: SOLVING BROADBAND PROBLEMS —

A pro-active approach and a co-operative response to solve a telecommunication problem has resulted in a positive relationship between the two Samoas.  

Network interference originating from the telecommunication companies in American Samoa led Samoa’s Regulator Lefaoali’i Unutoa Auelua Fonoti to pay a visit to the Territory. 

This was confirmed in response to questions sent to the Regulator.

“Yes I can confirm that I am here to discuss with the A.S. telecom companies a possible solution to an interference problem originating from American Samoa that is affecting our local network at the eastern part of Upolu (Aleipata Area),” she said 

The Regulator said the interference had affected the mobile broadband service of Bluesky Samoa and it was a possibility that it was affecting other providers as well.

American Samoa’s Regulator, which is the Federal Communication’s Commissioner, is based in America and according to Lefaoali’i she had contacted them via email in May when they first detected the interference. 

“After waiting for six months with no response, I made a decision to come to American Samoa to discuss the issue with the two service providers in order to come up with solutions to rectify the problem,” said Unutoa. 

I was looking more at solving the issue the Samoan way of soalaupule and helping each other instead of going through other avenues given the different arrangements within the two countries.” 

Lefaoali’i says the meeting has been fruitful discussions with Acting Country Manager of Bluesky AS Raj Deo and C.E.O. of American Samoa Telecommunications Authority, Pulelei’ite Li’amatua Tufele.

“And as a result of those meetings we agreed that we will all work together to eliminate the interference. 

“The agreement is based on coordination approaches where my technical team will work together with their technical teams to rectify the problem and because it’s a crucial issue, they agreed to my request to have the initial work start this weekend.” 

The Regulator commended the assistance provided by the two Chief Executive Officers for taking their time out from their busy schedules to meet and discuss the important issue.  

“And especially their willingness to work together with us on this matter despite us being under two different jurisdictions,” said Lefaoali’i. 

(Source: Samoa Observer)

JUDGE FITI SUNIA TELLS WEAPON CARRYING OFFICER TO LEAVE

KHJ News reported last week that District Court Judge Fiti Sunia ordered an officer who entered his courtroom this morning carrying a weapon to remove himself and his gun.

However, KHJ later noted that “upon further investigation KHJ News learned that the officer walked into the court house with the weapon strapped in his holster when Judge Fiti Sunia was at the courthouse window. That is when the judge said no guns are allowed in his court room and that the officer remove the weapon.”

KHJ News had reported that this is believed to be the first time since police officers were certified in a department of Public Safety weapons training that a policeman has brought a firearm into the court room.

(Source: KHJ News)

SAMOA RUGBY UNION TO ASK FOR HALF A MILLION – REPORT SAYS

The Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U) will ask England for £160,000 ($T534,000) cut of next month's £10million (T$32million) Test against England.

The Daily Mail reported that Chief Executive Officer, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, is personally contacting his counterpart, Steve Brown, for the amount.

It follows a story on The Mail on Sunday which revealed Samoa will earn £650 (T$2,100) each for the week - in contrast to a £22,000 (T$72,100) match fee for England stars.

Samoa's pay packet breaks down to just £95 (T$316) per day for their biggest game of the year, prompting World Rugby vice-chairman Gus Pichot to call for widespread financial reform.

"The whole economic equation in rugby is wrong at the moment," Pichot told The MoS. "I can't bull**** you and say it's all fine, because it is a massive issue. We need a long-term plan."

World Rugby are under pressure to introduce a revenue-share model. There is currently no onus on the hosts to split the revenue with their opponents, which is stunting the growth of cash-strapped tier two nations who lack the infrastructure to stage major Test matches.

“The revenue share model has been discussed," said Pichot. "But the tier one countries decided that wouldn't sustain their economies. England can say they built their stadium to generate profit. Scotland can argue they would be broke if they had to revenue share.

"New Zealand can say they need a turnover of 150 million to break even. You could take the view that is selfish, but it's their right to make those points.

"I'm not a great supporter of making the rich richer but I was in those meetings and it's tough. Someone has £200m and they want £220m. I'm looking for a fair growth of the game."

Pichot believes the Argentina model should provide the blueprint for tier two nations. They set up their own franchise, the Jaguares, and only select home-based players.

"The Argentinian system is the way forward," said Pichot. "Our guys are living in Argentina and making good money relative to our economy. Yes, they can make more money in Europe but at least they have the option to stay at home. There is no revenue share there.

"There are talks of Fiji joining Super Rugby and new competitions in new territories in the Islands. The Fiji CEO invited us to tour there. We are pushing the big nations to travel to the Pacific Islands. We have never pushed so hard. Every meeting it's on the agenda."

(Source: Samoa Observer)

MEDIA WATCHDOG ADDS VOICE TO TONGA DISPUTE

A regional media watchdog says Tonga's government needs to stop using so-called losses as an excuse to gag Tonga's public broadcaster.

The Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) is among those raising concerns in the wake of the latest management changes at the Tonga Broadcasting Commission (TBC).

News Manager Viola Ulukai and Editor Laumanu Petelō have been moved out of the newsroom and into sales.

The new chairman of the TBC board, Dr Tu'i Uata, told Kaniva News the change had to occur as the commission faced being shut down within two months because it was running at a loss.

PFF Chair Monica Miller said Pacific media colleagues were dismayed at the treatment of two women who had done nothing but be journalists.

"Government needs to stop using so-called losses as an excuse to apply punitive changes aimed at gagging newsroom and management in a leading public broadcaster of the region", said Miller.

Miller said state broadcasters were not faced with the same pressures as commerical broadcasters and had a key role to inform people about what is happening with their own tax dollars.

She said Tonga should show regional leadership and urged the government to enter into talks with Tonga's media overseen by independent monitors.

The staff transfer at TBC follows months of complaints from the Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva over what he claimed was unfair, unethical reporting.

The dispute came to a head in May this year, after a minister declared "void" the automatic renewal of former general manager, Nanisē Fifita.

She took the government to court but a judge ruled against her.

"We urge Tonga's leadership to take their grievances and allegations over breaches of ethics or standards by any journalist, to the national media body or to bring them to our attention where a mediated and objective report can be made possible," said MIller.

(Source: RNZ)

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