Thursday, 7 August 2008 12:28 PM

MASI Comments on Refused Entry at RAMSI Base

The Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) expressed disappointment after its members were barred from covering the Duke of Gloucester's visit to the RAMSI military Headquarter on Tuesday.

A team of local journalists accompanying the Duke on his three day visit were denied access into the RAMSI base at Guadalcanal Beach Resort (GBR).

No immediate reason was given when team members inquire about the restricted entry.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of Solomon Islanders who enjoyed listening to a live broadcast of the Duke's visit on SIBC were disappointingly denied their right to know why the Duke had visited the RAMSI base.

Solomon Islanders in the provinces were kept informed on the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester's visit since arrival on Sunday and subsequent visits to other places such as King George Sixth School, the National Parliament, the National Referral Hospital and the Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL).

When the Duke and his party left the headquarter RAMSI immediately emailed local media outlets in an attempt to explain why the media was denied every access.

The email stressed that it was not a media ban but a "misunderstanding".

A statement from MASI said a "misunderstanding" reflects poor arrangements from those who were responsible for organizing the event at the RAMSI headquarter.

When Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited Honiara earlier this year, the local media was treated with all democratic dignity to cover his visit at the RAMSI headquarters.

Rudd's visit was well covered and many Solomon Islanders in the provinces were happily informed of the visit of Australia's top political leader.


In spite of the ban, local media outlets were very responsible by running RAMSI supplied images of the Dukes visit to the RAMSI Headquarter in newspapers the following day.


MASI said the incident should be a reminder to event organizers to avoid further "misunderstanding" for important future visits and to avoid infringements with peoples right to know.


"The local media is just wondering why they were 'in with Rudd but out with the Duke?" the MASI statement said.


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