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Need to educate journos

Shalveen Chand
Friday, February 14, 2014

THE need to educate journalists about the role of media and self-regulation were among the topics discussed at the third Pacific Islands Media Summit in Noumea, New Caledonia.

Speaking to participants, Ricardo Morris, Pacific Freedom Forum's regional co-ordinator, said the idea of a regional media self-regulation body came out of discussions during World Press Freedom Day celebrations in 2012.

He said this was an option for the media to make a decision on, rather than simply saying it could not be done.

He said they would like the media to discuss what the implications are with regards to a regional self-regulation scheme.

As part of the feasibility study on self regulation , a survey was conducted that collected perceptions of media self-regulation from media stakeholders in 10 Pacific islands countries — Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Solomon Islands, PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The feedback revealed common priorities across the region such as training for media professionals and the need for public awareness on self-regulation.

The feasibility study is expected to be finalised by April this year.

Participants who attended the Pacific Media Summit also heard the perspectives on self-regulation from media practitioners during a panel discussion.

Panelists included Fiji Media Industry Development Authority director Matai Akauola, Samoa Observer editor Keni Lesa, Kalafi Moala, Taimi Media Network in Tonga, and Dr Weber.

Kalafi Moala called for the need to take cultural diversity that shapes media and the dynamics within the media into consideration.

Keni Lesa from the Samoa Observer noted that factionalism was the biggest stumbling block to advancing self-regulation and he stressed the need for national mechanisms to form the basis for a regional scheme.

Mr Akauola noted the need for self-regulation and that Fiji was pursuing a different path from other countries in the Pacific with the establishment of the Media Industry Development Authority.

In conclusion, Dr Weber noted that "regional and national self-regulation mechanisms are not mutually exclusive and there are specific issues and functions that pertain to either mechanism".

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