Mara J. Fulmer didn't help Fijians get on the World Wide Web so that the island
nation could advertise its white-sand beaches and Pacific sunsets.
Her motivation was nothing less noble than preserving freedom of the press.
In late May, because of continuing civil strife, the University of the South
Pacific shut down its journalism program's Web site, including the online version
of Wansolwara, the quarterly student newspaper.
A rebel attack on a local television station had prompted the Fijian university
to suspend publication of the paper, which had just sent to the printer the
June edition, reporting on how an indigenous-Fijian group was holding government
As the days passed, news-media groups, journalism schools, and professors around
the world decried what they viewed as an unwarranted clampdown on free speech.
But in the end, it was Ms. Fulmer, a professor of graphic design at Charles
S. Mott Community College, in Flint, Mich., who got the paper back up and running,
at least online.
Ms. Fulmer, who was an instructor in the Fijian university's journalism program
three years ago, was contacted by professors there and agreed to receive e-mail
attachments of stories and set up the June edition on her own site (http://www.lookinglassdesign.com/wansolwara/wansol.html)
until the university allowed the paper to go back online a month later.
She is modest about her role, calling it "mostly providing moral support."
David Robie, a senior lecturer and coordinator of the Fijian university's journalism
program, calls the arrangement "an excellent case study of how international
cooperation can beat Internet gags."
Section: Short Subjects
Copyright © 2000 by The Chronicle of Higher Education
[Note from MJF: Mara Fulmer was Art Director and Senior Graphic Artist for
the University of the South Pacific Media Centre and an Adjunct Instructor in
the Journalism programme, not a fulltime lecturer in Journalism. Also, the university
is not a "Fijian" university, but is owned and run by a consortium
of 12 member island nations from around the Pacific.]
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