Friday, November 17, 2006

Statement on Mistreatment of local Journalists

The following statment was issued by JAWS on the 16th of November 2006 in response to complaints from its members about mistreatment by workers, management and CEO of Samoa Tourism Authority.
Journalists Association of [Western] Samoa

The Journalists Association of [Western] Samoa in response to complaints from its members would like to issue this statement on behalf of the working Journalists of Samoa.

The JAWS Executive has agreed that the mistreatment of local Journalists by the Samoa Tourism Authority is unacceptable, improper and intolerable.
JAWS is appalled at the way in which the STA workers, management and CEO has treated Journalists in relation to the Miss Samoa and Miss South Pacific Pageants.
JAWS will no longer tolerate such treatment of working Journalists in Samoa.

We as Journalists have a responsibility to our readers, listeners and viewers to inform them of events in Samoa.
As the JAWS Code of Ethics clearly states: “Our Responsibility: The publics right to know of events of public importance and interest is the overriding mission of the mass media.”
Some Journalists were denied this responsibility by STA and by doing so, they denied the publics right to know.
We are not in this profession to serve our interests but rather the interest of the public who have a right to know.

We believe that a free press equals a fair and democratic society, and as advocates of free press we issue the following recommendations.

I. That working Journalists be treated fairly by all as we have a responsibility to the public.

II. That Journalists are not to be discriminated against due to their gender, age or background.

III. That Official Government Media passes signed by the highest authority are issued to working Journalists. These Passes will act as an annual access for Journalists to prescribed Government related events such as Independence, Teuila, conferences, launches, handovers, commemorations, inductions and so forth.

IV.That the Press is informed well ahead of time before any Government event, with either a Programme, Press Release, Backgrounder or a Fact Sheet. In saying this, we do recognize the efforts of some Government Ministries who have treated Journalists fairly and have followed the proper procedures.

V. That the Press be assigned proper seating in events to have clear view of the occasion. This will enable Journalists to film, take photos, record or take notes therefore enabling us to report and cover the event accurately.

VI. That the Press have easy phone access to a Spokesperson from each Ministry or Government Body who will answer any questions pertaining to Government events, issues and happenings.

With respect to the Prime Minister Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Misa Telefoni Retzlaff who understand the need for free press and fair treatment of Journalists. JAWS hereby issue a boycott of all STA events until further notice.


JAWS Executive
Journalists Association of [Western] Samoa

Monday, November 13, 2006

Journalist denied entry to Miss South Pacific

Two members of the local media were denied entry into the Miss South Pacific pageant held in Apia last week. The Journalists who both work for local newspapers, and are well known to the local community were told to provide proof of employment by a Media outlet before they were issued Press Passes. After the organisers were directed to issues of the Newspapers, the Journalists were told to follow the CEO of the Samoa TOurism Authority around, so they can obtain authorisation to receive a Press Pass.
"There is no way I was going to spend a whole day following someone for a Press Pass," one Journalist said.
Asked weather all media had to go through the same process the two Journalists were told, they were the only two receiving such treatment.
STA has had a long history of being illusive to the media when it comes to Beauty Pageants. As there is much interest by the public on such events, local Journalists make it a point report on the event. This however has not been possible for some, as STA refuses to inform them of events and issue them Press Passes so they can report on events.
Four Journalists were also denied entry into Miss Samoa earlier this year, but were told they would be given Press Passes at the door.
JAWS has yet to meet on this issue but possible boycott of all STA events would be discussed.

Solomon Islands set for PINA 2007 in May

Dates and theme were announced today for Solomon Islands hosting of the region’s biggest news media event, the 2007 Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Biennial Convention. The host Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) and the PINA executive board confirmed the convention will be held in Honiara, the Solomon Islands capital, 24-26 May.Pre-convention media training workshops start 21 May.

“The Role of Pacific Media in Economic Growth” is the theme, the joint statement from PINA and MASI said.The convention will be held in conjunction with the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Solomon Star, the country’s award-winning daily newspaper.PINA president Ken Clark said on behalf of the PINA executive board: “We have been very impressed by the effective organising of the event by the Media Association of the Solomon Islands.”Mr Clark said some early communication snags were overcome and added:“We look forward to meeting with our Pacific Island media colleagues in Honiara in May next year and to continuing with the effective strengthening of all the media organisations involved and the fundamental principles of media freedom, freedom of access to information, and professional training in media matters.”

MASI president John Lamani, the founder and publisher of the Solomon Star, said arrangements in Honiara are well advanced.“The Solomon Islands news media are looking forward to hosting regional and international colleagues and providing an outstanding convention on an important and timely theme,” he said.

A busy programme of workshops, convention sessions and industry group meetings for radio, TV, print media and national associations is being finalised.As well there will be lots of the local hospitality for which Solomon Islands is famous as the Hapi Isles. Next May’s meeting is only the second time the Solomon Islands has hosted the PINA Convention, with the last event in Honiara in 1989.Mr. Lamani said a MASI convention secretariat has already been set up in Honiara, with fundraising well advanced under fundraising committee chairperson Catherine Lamani, of PAOA FM. Major international, regional and local sponsors are also confirmed or being secured, and there is big local support.“Block bookings of about 150 rooms have been confirmed in two hotels, complete with conference facilities,” Mr. Lamani said.Special affordable fare arrangements are also being made with Solomon Airlines.

Invitations to international and regional news media, PINA partners, and associated organisations are about to be sent out by MASI.Mr. Lamani said MASI is pleased with arrangements so far, particularly with support from development and donor partners.PINA’s executive board has appointed the television industry representative on the board, Jeane Matenga, of Cook Islands, to liaise with MASI.Ms Matenga, the chief executive of the Pitt Media Group (Cook Islands Television, Radio Cook Islands, Cook Islands Herald, Cook Islands Times), is already working closely with the Solomon Islands on the arrangements.She is also regularly briefing Mr. Clark (Fiji TV), vice president Elenoa ‘Amanaki (Tonga Broadcasting Corporation), and the other PINA executives, Marc Neil-Jones (Vanuatu Daily Post, print media), Pesi Fonua (Tonga Media Council, national associations) and Matai ‘Akauola (Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, radio).MASI and PINA have said there will now be regular announcements on arrangements so that everyone is kept fully up to date on what will be an exciting event for all the region's news media.