Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Journalists focus on Health

Caption: Participants of the media health workshop in Honiara this week.

By Cherelle Jackson
In Honiara, Solomon Islands
[Newsline Samoa] Health and its impacts on Pacific economies is the focus of discussion amongst Pacific Journalists this week in Honiara.
The workshop is part of the biennial Pacific Island News Association (PINA) Convention.
Sponsored by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the pre-convention workshop invited Journalists from Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Samoa and Solomon Islands to share skills and knowledge on ways to improve coverage and reporting of health issues in their respective countries.
The workshop is coordinated by Pacific media trainer Ms. Lisa Williams-Lahari a well known gender activist and Journalist in the region.
“The main aim is to make connections between health and other issues covered by the media,” Lisa said.
Issues such as HIV AIDS, communicable and non-communicable diseases have already been discussed by the regional Journalists.
“We wanted to emphasize that health stories are not just about health,” Lisa said.
According to her health issues impact governance, gender issues, finance and economies.
“All these issues are interconnected, other issues or stories become relevant and make more sense with a good understanding of health,” Lisa said.
Some Journalists agreed that health is already being advocated by Non Government Organizations and Ministries of Health that there is no need for further media coverage.
Lisa disagreed saying: “Journalists have a complacent attitude to sponsored coverage of health issues, because media organizations and Ministries do health promotions it lets Journalists get away from coverage of health issues.”
Editor of Fiji Sun, Mr. Leone Cabenatabu said the media are not usually informed about major health issues and that his Journalists are only invited to openings of workshops and other health publicity activities.
Lisa said: “At the end of the day we do not want to cover workshops, work on hand outs from organizations, we want to move away from this attitude and start coverage from the newsroom. This workshop answers the question, what makes a good health story?”
The pre-convention workshops end on the 23rd of May and the PINA Convention will begin on the 24th.
Pacific Media Trainer, Lisa Williams-Lahari