There were robust discussions over the use of resources and the need for more local content include listening to several public submissions and some heavy scrutiny of news media on day two and the final day of the proceedings, yesterday.
When it came to the news, the committee chairperson took issue with the tone of the news items in relation to this select committee. Mr. Ricky Muiaki Makani didn’t like the tone of the story yesterday and asked if the BCN General Manager felt that news presented by BCN journalists is fair and balanced.
“Let’s look at your news of this committee, from our proceedings yesterday. Your headline was Little probing and lack of public interest. Let’s see if we can fix that”
He continued to say “Now taking into account that this is the first hearing of this kind for us which means a steep learning curve. Do you not accept that we need to find our way first.”
Mr Makani continue to read his statement questioning why the journalist highlighted the lack of public participation at the first day of proceedings. “My second point is this, why did you choose to highlight the fact that not many people attended the proceedings yesterday. Knowing full well that the outcome of this inquiry does not depend on how many people turn up to listen”
Ricky Makani mentioned a radio program and this is where it became interesting because he said “You made your comments on radio that are in your view only ministers can refer topic to a select committee for investigation.”
Mr Makani continued saying that those views “..circulated like wildfire in our small community. The result was that the Speakers office published information to say to say that this view which you promoted was wrong. The authority to establish this committee or any committee of the Assembly for that matter is contained in the standing orders. Now would you say that you present a balance news? Did you not correct your earlier mistake?”
The news item written three months ago quoted the Standing orders https://tvniue.com/2021/05/first-ever-parliamentary-committee-to-look-into-bcn-and-telecom-niue-operations/
The journalist, BCN’s sole journalist and head of news who produces all news items for BCN news, Midday news, News of the Week on radio and for online content Esther Pavihi was not present at the proceedings yesterday. She was busy covering the medical evacuation of Mr Richard Hipa and another top story in relation to the village council elections.
The committee did not ask for the Senior Reporter and Head of News to be present to respond to their concerns.
In response, Trevor Tiakia responded explaining the angle and the punchline used in the news headline that it reflected the situation yesterday, that there was no one else there, just the committee, the Speaker and his staff, and the BCN team of two plus the cameraman and the journalist.
“We need to ask ourselves if this is the very first of its kind, why was there no one here yesterday. It was just us. From a news writer’s angle, “If it’s something new, why wasn’t anyone here to listen to this very important occasion and the very first of its kind.”
Trevor Tiakia informed the committee that there is a process for dealing with complaints and if they wish to take that course of action and conduct an investigation into this incident.
It was not clear whether the committee had decided to invoke the official complaint process about the news items presented by BCN news on the work of the committee.
Several public submissions were presented with Maru Talagi speaking on behalf of the national sports body NISGCA saying that there is a need for more sports coverage.
Laga Lavini asked for more equality in the use of the religious denominations on the island to open the radio morning sessions instead of just using the members of the National council of churches.
Thomas Talagi spoke of the need for scholarships in journalism to create such opportunities for students to study overseas.
Moira Enetama from Taoga Niue spoke about the use of vagahau and perhaps look into reviewing the notices to ensure the correct use of vagahau. She also spoke on the work her department is assisting with the BCN archive materials.
Catherine Papani represented the Niue Chamber of Commerce and asked for business packages for promotions and for more local content.
Eme Laufoli from environment asked the Committee that the department of environment needs more money for their invasive programs.
Natasha Tohovaka from DAFF also spoke on the need for more local content and to perhaps look at using village correspondents to provide local content and use young people.
Nicola Puheke represented the Education department and asked for BCN to bring back some of the children’s reading programs that used to be aired before.
The chairperson of the Committee Ricky Muiaki Makani will be on News of the Week programme on radio tomorrow to talk more about the work of the committee.