Friday, April 28, 2006

Pacific Media reps gather for elections workshop

With four Pacific nations preparing to go the polls in the coming months some 35 media representatives from the region gathered in Suva, Fiji in March for a three-day UNESCO supported workshop on media and elections.
The workshop was a project initiated by the Democracy and Electoral Studies Programme of the Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance at the University of the South Pacific in collaboration with the Fiji Electoral Commission/Elections Office, the Communication & Information Sector of the UNESCO Office, Apia and The British High Commission, Suva. Newly appointed British High Commissioner to Fiji, Roger Sykes in opening the workshop told journalists from Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu that their role during upcoming elections in their home country’s would be of "vital importance". The workshop was aimed at addressing media practices ahead of elections in Samoa on March 31, Solomon Islands on April 5, Fiji on May 6 and Tuvalu on August 3. Areas covered included an overview of democratic elections, media/elections laws and regulations, human rights and elections, electoral systems, good journalism in election coverage, campaign, polling and counting coverage, ethics and codes of conducts for media election coverage and women’s’ political representation and election coverage. Forum Secretariat's deputy Secretary General (Economic Growth and Security) Peter Forau highlighted the importance of the media as part of the democratic process. "Elections define democracy while the media enlightens and sustains it," Mr Forau said in his keynote address. The role of the media is to provide information, educate and provide opportunities for citizens to question government and propose alternative policy ideas, he said. Fiji TV news director Netani Rika went a step further warning journalists to trust no one and be wary of politicians and political parties during election time. "Ask the tough question now," he said and deal with the issues not the personalities. He said it was too common around election time for the media to get caught up in stories based on allegations, not facts. Participating at the workshop were two journalists each from Samoa, Tuvalau , Solomon Islands, one from Tonga and 28 from Fiji. This is the second of such workshops to be held in Fiji, the initial one organised for Fiji participants only. A third is in the planning for the forthcoming General Elections in Tuvalu.

Source: UNESCO News
Courtesy of Abel Caine

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

World Press Freedom Day Event

The Journalists Association of Samoa in partnership with UNESCO will be coordinating the celebrations of World Press Freedom Day this year.
Amidst the growing recognition of the importance of press freedom for democracy and development, in 1993 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed May 3rd as “World Press Freedom Day.”
Throughout the world, this Day serves as an occasion to celebrate press freedom, raise awareness of violations against the right to freedom of expression and draw attention to the work and commitment of journalists to bring people their daily news.
To commemorate this important international event JAWS will be hosting a Tertiary Level Speech Competition on the theme of the day: “Media, Development, and Poverty Eradication.”

Date of Competition: 3rd May 2006
Venue: Lecture Theatre D101 NUS
Time: 9:00am – 12:00am

Tentative Programme:
Prayer - Local Reverend
Welcome - President of JAWS
Keynote Address - Director UNESCO Apia
Speech Competition - Competitors
Questions by Audience

Prize Giving

Speaker Representing:
Amosa o Savavau
Malua Theological College
Piula Theological College
Moamoa Theological College

For more information please e-mail:

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Nomination for FEMM


The Pacific Is. Forum Secretariat is again coordinating a Forum Media Workshop linked to the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) from July 3-5, 2006 in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

It is expected that the team will fly in on or about Thursday 29 June for an intensive workshop, stay to cover the FEMM -related meetings and fly out on or about Thursday, July 6.

PINA is therefore calling for nominations from your senior journalists or up-coming journalists with a background on key political, trade and economic, social and governance issues affecting the region.

Please send nominations to and as soon as possible.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Voting Closes in Solomon Islands

Source: BBC World News

Voting has ended in the South Pacific nation of the Solomon Islands where the first elections since a regional force restored peace in 2003 are being held. Voting passed peacefully, and officials said there was no trouble reported at polling stations. More than 450 candidates were competing for 50 seats. Results are not expected for several days. The chief electoral officer said there was considerable interest in the poll and a high turnout was predicted.
Counting is due to start on Thursday, but it will take some time for a result to come through because of the remoteness of many polling stations spread across the archipelago.
The country has 342,000 registered voters.
The United Nations has sent a team of 44 observers to monitor the election.
Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza's People's Alliance Party won 20 seats at the last election in 2001.
But several ministers have since been charged with corruption, and he may struggle to remain in power.
Mr Kemakeza invited the Australian-led peacekeeping force to the Solomons in July 2003, after violence stirred up by local warlords had left hundreds dead and 20,000 displaced.

Story Link:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The role of UNESCO in WPFD

World Press Freedom Day 2006
Media, Development and Poverty Eradication

UNESCO promotes freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right.
UNESCO, in keeping with its Constitution, advocates the basic human right of freedom of expression, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and its corollary, press freedom. Indeed, since its creation in 1945, UNESCO has been called upon to “promote the free flow of ideas by word and image”, and the Organization’s Member States have repeatedly confirmed this mandate over the years in decisions adopted by the General Conference, the highest authority of the United Nations agency. UNESCO promotes freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right.

Public’s right of access to information
A free press is not a luxury that can wait for better times; rather, it is part of the very process which can bring about better times. Freedom of the press should not be viewed solely as the freedom of journalists to report and comment. It is strongly correlated with the public’s right of access to knowledge and information. Communication often acts as a catalyst for the development of civil society and the full exercise of free expression enables all parts of society to exchange views and find solutions to social, economic and political problems. Free media play a crucial role in building consensus and sharing information, both essential to democratic decision-making and to social development.
In keeping with this mandate UNESCO has been working with professional organizations, and a wide range of governmental, as well as non-governmental partners, on several fronts to build up, support and defend free, independent and pluralistic media in developing countries, countries in transition and in conflict and post conflict areas.

UNESCO’s media work
UNESCO maintains close relations with regional and international media organizations and press freedom advocacy groups. One of its major partners is the electronic clearing-house and alert network, IFEX, which groups 500 member organizations in 130 countries. Since 1992, IFEX has facilitated the sharing of information about press freedom and the efficiency of reactions to cases of violations.

Professional training for journalists
UNESCO recognizes that media independence and freedom of information do not hinge only on the capacity of private individuals to operate media outlets; it also requires a commitment to professional standards of reporting. Thus UNESCO’s work includes advocacy, professional training for journalists and media professionals, and support for professional networks, as well as providing governments with advice and information on best practices regarding media legislation and regulation.

World Press Freedom Day
Amidst the growing recognition of the importance of press freedom for democracy and development, in 1993 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed that May 3 is “World Press Freedom Day”. Throughout the world, this Day serves as an occasion to celebrate press freedom, raise awareness of violations against the right to freedom of expression and draw attention to the work of all too many journalists forced to brave death or jail to bring people their daily news. It is also on World Press Freedom Day that UNESCO awards the annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to a journalist who has distinguished him or herself in the fight for press freedom.
UNESCO is increasingly being asked to assist, together with the other United Nations system organizations, funds and programmes, in seeking solutions in conflict prevention, emergency assistance, and post-conflict peace-building. Freedom of the press, pluralism and independence of the media, and development of community newspapers and radio stations are crucial to the re-establishment of social bonds and to the reconciliation process.

Samoa's ruling party wins again (BBC)

Source: BBC News

Samoa's ruling party appears set for a new term in office after winning the general election with an increased majority, early results suggest.
The Human Rights Protection Party, in office for 24 years, took 30 seats out of 49 - eight more than at 2001 polls.
Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sailele Malielegaoi said his party's win was an acknowledgment of its achievements.
Samoa is seen by some as a beacon of stability in the South Pacific, where other states struggle to survive.
Spotlight on economy
A formal count was being held on Monday, but preliminary results announced by election officials at the weekend gave the ruling party 30 seats, the opposition Samoa Democratic United Party (SDUP) 10 seats and independents eight.
The outcome for the 49th seat had still to be decided and some additional "special" votes by citizens voting outside their home constituencies had still to be included in the count.

Q&A Samoa elections
"From past experience the results don't change much with the inclusion of special votes," Samoan Electoral Commissioner Tanivasa Lemisio told the Associated Press news agency.
The HRPP campaigned on its record of stabilising the economy - which saw a 6% growth in 2005 - and providing services, particularly in rural areas.
The SDUP focused on alleged government corruption and the high cost of living.
Some 60% of Samoa's 178,000 citizens rely on agriculture for their livelihood, and tourism is the nation's main source of foreign income.
But the economy remains dependent on remittances from Samoans living abroad. Samoa has a population of 182,000; there are a further 120,000 Samoans living in New Zealand.
More than 79,000 Samoans registered to vote in Friday's election.

Link to story:

Monday, April 03, 2006

JAWS coverage of elections

JAWS would like to acknowledge and congratulate the great work done by Journalists, Editors, Columnists, Photographers and Layout Artists for your individual contributions to a successful election coverage especially within the last month leading up to the day. Above are the frontpages from six local newspapers the day before election and the day after elections. Congratulations and malo lava le faamalosi.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

HRPP reigns again

After months of debate, uncertainty and anticipation the Samoan elections has come to an end, and HRPP is in power yet again after a landslide vistory last night. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi will now serve another term in Parliament along with 30 successful candidates from HRPP. The Party had no contender, the closest was SDUP with 10 MPs to their name including the Leader and Deputy Leader, the rest were Independent candidates. The Christian Party and Samoa Party were unsuccessful although they put up a fight until the end. More news on this will be posted as it comes in.