Journalism and media freedom in the Pacific is under threat and faces many challenges – some new, some old. Media workers face legal threats from governments demanding disclosure of sources and from expensive-to-defend defamation and libel claims made by the rich and powerful. In many countries journalists are targets for politicians and influential people with power, who have been exposed for corruption, inappropriate behavior and conflicts of interest. Deaths threats and physical violence fuelled by online content are not uncommon responses from extremists loyal to the politician or cause.
Despite the intimidation, media workers in the Pacific continue to gather and provide timely, credible, verifiable and factual information to allow citizens to make informed decisions about important events. These events include extreme weather conditions, climate change, environmental impacts of development projects, elections, health issues, disease and pandemics such as Covid-19. Without media workers gathering and providing trusted information from credible sources, Pacific communities are at risk from chaos driven by the constant flood of disinformation