Saturday, May 9, 2009
Media freedom advocates advise Pacnews: Dump Fiji
PACIFIC media freedom advocates meeting in Apia, Samoa, this week did their best to keep the Fiji censorship problem in proportion and give other regional issues a good hearing. But it was tough. The Fiji challenge kept bubbling to the surface, leading to a spirited debate on the future of PINA at one session and feisty calls for the regional news service Pacnews to get out of Suva at others. Fiji dominated all the speeches on the opening day with several of the region's media freedom heavyweights giving the regime a hard time - but they also warned that the young generation coming through into the industry should not be seduced by government freebies. Some quick thoughts:
Savea Sano Malifa (Samoa Observer): Go for the hidden stories without compromise.
Netani Rika (The Fiji Times): “How do we build ... courage? Simply, by not backing down.”
Kalafi Moala (Taimi Media Network): PINA and Pacnews must not stay silent.
Russell Hunter (Samoa Observer): It's "appalling" that Pacnews and PINA are staying put in Fiji.
The Pacific Freedom Forum made some tremendous advances at this UNESCO-funded seminar. More in a later blog, but in the meantime Pacific Media Centre has a report and here is the final communique.
Picture: Participants at the Article 19 media freedom seminar in Samoa. Photo: PFF.