IFJ Joins Pacific Call for Action on Media Freedom

The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) joins a call by journalists representing 12 Pacific nationsfor governments of the region to defend and promote freedom

of the media in the Pacific, in line with their international obligations under

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


The call was made by 40 journalists and media workers from across the Pacific

at the inaugural meeting of the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) in Apia, Samoa, from May 6 to 8.


The “Project XIX: Courage Under Fire” seminar, which included a two-day workshop on freedom

of expression and media rights reporting and monitoring delivered by the IFJ, sought

to address growing threats to media freedom in the Pacific region.


The delegates,

who shared their personal experiences of abuse and intimidation, expressed deep

concerns about increasing violations of journalists’ rights and media freedom

in their countries and across the region.


They noted that

attacks on journalists and draconian restrictions on the media in several Pacific Island countries threatened the quality

and diversity of regional journalism as well as the right of ordinary people to




delegates heard first-hand reports of attacks on media freedom and individual

journalists, and applaud ‘courage under fire’ shown by journalists sharing

their stories with us,” the delegates said in their outcome statement.


They agreed to

unified action to conduct systematic monitoring and reporting of threats and

attacks on journalists and media freedoms across the Pacific.


“The IFJ

strongly endorses the commitment shown by Pacific journalists to defend the rights

of journalists and the media in the Pacific

Islands. A coherent program

for monitoring and reporting on violations of media rights will strengthen the

ability and resolve of journalists throughout the Pacific to work together to counter

such abuses and to build regional unity in defending free media,” IFJ General Secretary

Aidan White said.


The media

crisis in Fiji

was a recurring theme throughout the meeting, bringing to the fore the seriousness

of the challenge for Pacific media.


The event

was originally scheduled to be held in Fiji to coincide with World Press

Freedom Day on May 3. However, the worsening of the constitutional crisis in Fiji in April and the military regime’s

subsequent imposition of emergency regulations and harsh restrictions on media forced

a change of venue to Samoa.


Delegates in

Apia called for a prompt resolution of the Fiji crisis, noting that the clampdown on the media

in Fiji

poses a region-wide crisis.


As a first

step, they urged regional news service PACNEWS, run by the Pacific Islands News

Association (PINA),to move its secretariat out of Fiji in

order to maintain its independence.


“We strongly

urge Pacific governments and media colleagues alike to accept open debate,

criticism and public feedback as the lifeblood of democracy, which must be

embraced in order to give all Pacific citizens a voice,” the Apia statement said.



delegates also agreed to work for the provision of insurance and security

measures for media personnel, and to advocate for an assurance of equal

professional rights and personal security for women journalists and media

workers in the Pacific.


At the

conclusion of the meeting, the IFJ and Pacific delegates warmly welcomed an assurance

by Samoa’s Prime Minister to uphold media

freedoms in the Pacific.



an address at a Pacific Media Freedom Day event on May 8 hosted by the

Journalists’ Association of Western Samoa (JAWS), Prime Minister Tuilaepa

Sailele Lupesoliai Malielegaoi reiterated his personal commitment to a free and

quality media throughout the Pacific.



further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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