Internet news sites set pace in Fiji

Internet media have been setting the pace in coverage of the crisis in TV, according to the editor of one of the New Zealand sites providing rolling coverage.

Internet media have been setting the pace in coverage of the crisis in TV, according to the editor of one of the New Zealand sites providing rolling coverage.

The Wellington-based online news agency Scoop has been relaying news from the site FijiLive.com and other sources, and has signed up several hundred subscribers to an email newsflash service.

Scoop editor Alastair Thompson says he has had an agreement to republish material from Pacnews, an agency run by David Robie of the University of the South Pacific, with journalism students providing stories, for several months.

Once the hostage crisis began, Robie also provided an introduction to FijiLive.com, a site established as part of the Fiji Review group by Yashwant Gaundler, a former news editor of the Fiji Times.

The Review warned two weeks ago of secret meetings being held to plot against the Mahendra Government and FijiLive has at times been posting news updates every 10 minutes.

Yesterday FijiLive was the first to raise the idea that George Speight is in fact only a frontman for the Fiji coup, chosen for his communications skills, and named the deputy security chief "Commander Bill" as the real force behind it. The site's source has since been thrown out of the Parliamentary compound.

"This is really rather unusual in the sense that the Internet media are setting the pace in many ways - Robie's team and the FijiLive team in particular, as they have the local knowledge," says Thompson. "Radio New Zealand's Barbara Dreaver has been pretty phenomenal too, of course."

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