PINA calls for governments to back media association’s training for better journalism

Pacific Islands News association President Moses Stevens has called for governments to support efforts by members of their respective media industries to maintain local media associations.

Speaking on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Stevens said it was only logical for governments to support the setting up of national media associations because the media represented society.

Stevens said governments could help media associations develop training for media workers and raise the standard of reporting across the Pacific region.

There are media councils in Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea Media Council and Palau.

However, national media associations in many countries had collapsed because of government pressure.

Stevens said problems faced by media in the Pacific might not be on the same scale as in those countries where journalists had been killed, but it was important them media did not wait for such incidents to occur before taking action.

He said there had been positive developments in Vanuatu where the Media Asosiesen blong Vanuatu was working with the government and others to develop mechanisms that will enhance access to information.

It is understood  a Freedom of Information (FOI) bill was before the Vanuatu Parliament and successive governments had appointed experienced media personalities to the position of Public Relations Officer at the Office of the Prime Minister.

In Fiji last week, the government announced it would introduce its FOI Bill at the next sitting of Parliament.

“These positive developments indicate that our governments are complying with international conventions to give the media and the public the right to access information held by public bodies, which is conducive to participatory democracies, sustainable development and good governance,” Stevens said.

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