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REGIONS:

MEDIA GROWING AND THRIVING

The media in Papua New Guinea is thriving and managing to reach the country's diverse population, reports Erin Phelan in PINA Pacific Media NIUS, the online news service from the UNESCO / Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Pacific Journalism Development Centre. While threats against journalists and media workers exist, Phelan notes that "the general consensus is that media freedom is respected" and that the country boasts one of the healthiest press freedom records in the region. Journalists, who are covering a wide range of political, social and economic issues, have a wide and supportive audience from citizens all over the country, says Phelan. The media has this far reach even though there are over 800 indigenous languages spoken and high illiteracy levels in the country. Papua New Guinea also has a media council, composed of a diverse group of media workers, which meets regularly to discuss media freedom and improving media standards. The council is drawing from Fiji's example to come up with a media code of ethics. The media council has also played a key role in protecting media rights against government's threats.

Enrolment in the country's journalism programmes has also dramatically increased. The University of Papua New Guinea journalism programme, which was closed last year, has been reinstated and there has been a large influx of students into the department. To subscribe to PINA Pacific Media NIUS, contact Peter Lomas, Coordinator, PINA Pacific Journalism Development Centre: E-mail: plomas@ibi.com.fj; Fax: +679 303 943; Website: http://www.pinanius.org.


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