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PNG: AAP had no option about closing office, says editor


The cost of maintaining an office in Papua New Guinea was too high for AAP and thus it needed to be closed, according to editor in chief Tony Gillies. Image: panpa.org.au

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Item: 8448

SYDNEY (ABC Radio Australia / Pacific Media Watch): Australia's national news agency has ended its office operations in Papua New Guinea.

The Australian Associated Press (AAP) editor in chief Tony Gillies said the decision was necessary as the news outlet was not immune to the financial challenges faced by the current media climate.

"We simply had to weigh up how our stories were being used by news customers against the cost of producing them," he told Radio Australia’s Bethany Keats of the Pacific Beat programme.

"We've had to consider the best use of the available resources to ensure we continue to provide the most cost effective news services to subscribers."

Gillies said the AAP would continue to report on Papua New Guinea despite the closure of its office there.

"We'll use a network of freelance reporters, photographers and videographers, while AAP staff here, through our various desks, will be on standby to go to PNG [Papua New Guinea]," he said.

PNG trips
Gillies said AAP had scheduled a number of trips to Papua New Guinea.

“We'll go up there for a week and pull out some of those stories that are good feature stories, a great travel yarn, the financial aid and where that's going and how that's being used, the trade issues."

Gillies said the AAP intended to meet with Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O'Neill in December regarding the decision to close its office.

"It's such an important development...I want to see him face to face and explain," he said.

Gillies said that most Australians were concerned mainly with asylum seeker issues, ‘rascals’ and Australians getting into trouble in Papua New Guinea.

Listen to Pacific Beat’s interview with Tony Gillies

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Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
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