CSOs call for support for journalists post-disaster

Participants of the Disaster Management and Humantarian Coordination CSO Review Meeting held in Suva yesterday. Picture: JESSICA SAVIKE

GOVERNMENT should provide support for journalists in the National Disaster Management Act because they are sometimes first responders during national disasters.

This was raised by the executive director of Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS) Vani Catanasiga during the Disaster Management and Humantarian Coordination CSO Review Meeting in Suva today.

“The media are the voices for the voiceless in the community and we acknowledge that and want the government to be intentional about supporting their work,” Ms Catanasiga said.

She said there should be psycho social support provided to journalists when they cover stories that may affect them emotionally.

Some other points highlighted was that FCOSS needed to provide clarity among the CSO coordination mechanism because as it was about the flow of information.

Ms Catanasiga said that there had been discussions to review that because it was about the people.

She added they wanted the Act to have clarity around humanitarian support in district and community levels.

The CSOs from national non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisations, community-based organisations, district councils of social services and youth groups had suggested that they want acknowledgement of local actors in the community.

Ms Catanasiga said “communities have existing structures and systems that support their resilience which supports their disaster response and there have been strong suggestions that it be acknowledged in the Act”.

She added they would also like the Act to include the marginalised group who were identified as vulnerable groups and were sometimes left out of community approaches.

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