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Urwin Welcomes Media Merger

Urwin Welcomes Media Merger

SUVA (Forum Secretariat/Pacific Media Watch): Forum Secretary General, Greg Urwin, says the media is essential to the promotion of greater accountability and better governance in the region.

His comments came after the region's two main media organisations - the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) and the Pacific Islands Broadcasting Association (PIBA) - officially merged today in a brief ceremony at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

"An important role for the media is to shine a light on the proper use, or otherwise, of public funds and public assets. However, in holding our leaders and citizens to higher standards, the media need to also encourage higher standards not just in the media, but in other sectors of our
communities.

"A unified PINA is an excellent example of regional cooperation and the pooling of resources. It will strengthen the efforts by the Pacific Islands media to provide a greater service to the public in our communities.

Urwin said that Forum Leaders this year called for the development of a Pacific Plan, to create stronger and deeper links between Forum members, and to identify where members could gain most from the pooling of resources of governance.

"The work on the Pacific Plan includes wide consultation with civil society groups, and I look forward to seeing PINA contribute to this discussion in the near future," Urwin said.

In 2003, the Forum Economic Ministers, in a Joint Statement "noted that good governance would only develop if public officials faced incentives or sanctions that encourage them to perform well." It was also necessary, the ministers said, "for the public to demand good governance, which required
wider understanding of the responsibilities of public office and the role of an active, investigative media."

In June this year, the FEMM "agreed that a closer partnership must be built with Pacific communities and their institutions to promote governance and accountability. This included the role of a strong and responsible media; an independent judiciary and well-resourced independent monitoring agencies."

Forum Secretariat, Suva
19 November 2004

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PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH ONLINE
http://www.pmw.c2o.org

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