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IFJ launches Strengthening Media in the Pacific report

In this 26 April 2006 file photo, caretaker prime minister Snyder Rini, center, at parliament house in Honiara in the Solomon Islands, is escorted through a media pack by armed police
In this 26 April 2006 file photo, caretaker prime minister Snyder Rini, center, at parliament house in Honiara in the Solomon Islands, is escorted through a media pack by armed police

AP Photo/Rob Griffith

This statement was originally published on on 29 October 2015.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today launches Strengthening Media in the Pacific - an insight into the media landscape and working conditions for media workers in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The report is a culmination of research and media consultation in the Pacific's media in 2014 and 2015 and highlights the challenges and success stories from the region as the media continues to rapidly develop and grow.

IFJ Asia-Pacific director, Jane Worthington, said: "This research gives us an up-to-date picture of the media landscape in the Pacific and how the industry is adapting in a transforming media environment and how it is attempting to overcome some of the challenges. What is clear is that each country of focus in this research has a unique media situation that has evolved to adapt to the culture, political and social environments." See the full report and survey results here.

Strengthening Media in the Pacific was officially launched at the IFJ Youth Recruitment and Future Union Strategies meeting in Bangkok by Evelyn Toa, president of IFJ's Vanuatu affiliate Media Association blong Vanuatu (MAV). She described the report as a necessary document "to review the long road the media industry has come from."

"Here in Vanuatu, the Pacific report opens a new page for the media development, it is a useful tool that can be used to support our future media generations and the country as whole," Ms Toa said. "It is a history book. We know that media industry will continue to develop and grow, but this report marks 'our beginning a new page in the development of media."

The research, supported by UNESCO IPDC, is aimed to encourage much-needed discussion on the vital role of the media and how the media can evolve to better suit the local environment.

Key findings:

* In Papua New Guinea, media freedom is guaranteed in the country's constitution, but journalists and media workers come under attack for 'negative' or 'critical' reporting. Women are increasing their presence in the media, but are yet to reach the high-rungs in decision making. Working conditions and safety remain issues for the country's media including late night shifts as does the breakdown of ethical journalism in PNG.
* In the Solomon Islands an emerging group of young media leaders are working as freelancers or new media consultants or entrepreneurs. While the country has freedom of expression and free speech guaranteed in its Constitution, libel and defamation laws continue to impact on reporting and ethical journalism remains a concern.
* In Vanuatu the media is too often regarded as a political propaganda tool rather than an agent for positive social change. While freedom of expression in guaranteed in the constitution, no other laws support press freedom. Yet the country has a strong and vibrant independent media, supported by the government and has witnessed a rise in 'citizen journalists' who are giving youth a voice and changing the role of the media.

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