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Publisher Calls For Reforms In Pacific Media

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PUBLISHER CALLS FOR REFORMS IN THE MEDIA
http://www.fijitimes.com.fj/story.aspx?ref=archive&id=12796

SUVA (The Fiji Times/Pacific Media Watch): A call to reform the media systems and operations in the Pacific region was made at the Australia-based Journalism Education Association (JEA) conference in Suva.

The call came from the publisher for the New Zealand-based Tongan newspaper Taimi o Tonga, Kalafi Moala, who was keynote speaker at the opening yesterday.

Moala said to train journalists and media practitioners and send them to work in the media systems of the Pacific would be like sending soldiers to war without a mission.

"Just as there were calls for constitutional and political reforms in island states, I believe a major reform is needed in the media systems and operations of our region," Moala said.

"Such a reform would mean that common people have some form of control over the media rather than the media being hijacked by government policies allied to elitist and corporate financial interests."

He said his call for reform was based on his observation that:

* There was bias in the way news was covered because most media operations were government controlled;

* Business and commercial interests usurped the traditional role of informing people; and

* Ignorance was increasing over local culture and the importance of language and history education.

Moala said most governments spread propaganda to stain the media with accusations of unprofessionalism, unbalanced reporting and cultural insensitivity.

* The full text of Kalafi Moala's speech was published in the Fiji Daily Post, 8 December 2004, pp 5-7.

+++niuswire

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PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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