About 30 journalists from the Pacific, including Samoa, attended the opening ceremony of the Pacific media workshop yesterday.
The Pacific media was welcomed by Nauru’s President, H.E. Baron Divavesi Waqa who officially opened the workshop leading up to the 49th Pacific Island Forum leaders meeting in Nauru next week.
The two-day workshop is jointly coordinated by the Pacific Island News Association and the Pacific Island Forum to prepare and brief the media on issues that will be discussed by Pacific leaders next week.
H.E. Waqa, in his address, said he hopes that this workshop will offer added value to the media’s knowledge and insight of the issues and events of the region and this forum meeting and to guide media work.
“Known as the fourth estate, the media plays a vital role in shaping a society and keep Governments accountable to their people and the policies they draft and enshrine in law.
“Whether you are a small organisation in a small country like Nauru, your job as gatekeepers in journalism is of extreme importance in today’s media environment.
“As gatekeepers, you ultimately mould and conduct what is being published to the masses, ultimately shaping their views and opinions of the world whether fact or gossip.”
The President said that with the fast developing world of social media and wanna-be journalists, the lines that distinguish real journalism and baseless or fake news become blurred.
He also reminded the media that they need to be the source of reliable and factual news for the people.
“You have been selected by your respective Governments and organisations to be that reliable source of news and information at this forum to inform and educate our people about what the Pacific forum is about, what the issues are, and what your leaders are doing and discussing to make things better for our islands and our Blue Pacific.”
The workshop agenda will include presentations by speakers in specialised fields on issues including fisheries, regional security, Pacific regionalism, climate change and disaster risk management.
The Minister for Health, Education, Home Affairs & Lands Management for Nauru, Hon. Charmaine Scotty also spoke about Nauru’s 50th Independence-celebrating Government’s achievements.
She said Nauru is a tiny place barely known on the world map however it is a proud independent republic and a fully recognised member of the international community.”
In regards to media work, Ms Scotty said it’s important that we all understand the work of the media.
She said Radio Nauru which is 50 years old was the main medium of communication for the country until the television was introduced about 20 years ago.
She said what Nauru people hear on the radio, “is the absolute truth, and nothing but the truth.
“So this is the perception that you people need to understand.
“So being small and isolated the challenges we face to enable our people to have a better standard of living and understanding of our outside world was enormous.”
These journalists are expected to provide media coverage of the P.I.F. meeting.