IT is important to engage the media to highlight the plight of women, children and in bridging the gender gap.
That was the message by Ministry of Information permanent secretary Sharon Smith-Johns at the 2012 Pacific Media Partnership Conference in Apia, Samoa.
The conference is jointly organised by the Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) and the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS).
Ms Smith-Johns emphasised the importance of media outlets, in particular media houses in Fiji, in bringing forward the plight of women and children.
“We can all agree the media plays an important role in promoting the needs and concerns of women and children in the Pacific, however at the same time, it must also ensure that key segments of society are properly represented,” she said in a statement.
“Too often in mainstream media we forget the marginalised in pursuit of a more engaging headline.
“While women’s issues seldom dominate media headlines, the same is also said for the hierarchy of media outlets in the region. In Fiji alone, all major newsrooms are headed by men. We need to encourage more leadership of women in key decision-making roles within the media, after all they are our champions, they understand the fundamental issues.”
Ms Smith-Johns highlighted work undertaken by the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Women in highlighting the plight of women and children in Fiji.
“In Fiji we have taken a proactive role in travelling to both rural and isolated communities to discuss first-hand the issues facing women,” she said.
“This role entails discussing areas of mutual concern and providing information on a wide range of topics, such as health and domestic violence and the establishment of ‘Women Resource Centres’ in rural communities across the country which provides women in these areas access to information that could potentially provide much-needed information and social changes.”