MeP pushes ahead with plan for Pacific media educators and trainers

A Radio New Zealand reporter interviewing Dr Shailendra Singh of the University of the South Pacific. Image: Eliki Drugunalevu/USP/PMC File photo

Pacific media educators and trainers from around the Pacific took advantage of last week’s 4th World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC) to get up to speed on global trends and to strategise for the future.

Organised by the Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology, the Asia-Pacific “stream” of 12 people funded by donors spanned both an Australian and Pacific preconference and the main WJEC conference.

“I must give credit to a wonderful group of educators from what we always claim –not just in media but by our governments as well — our Pacific region,” said Misa Vicky Lepou, president of the recently formed Media Educators Pacific (MeP).

Presentations included 11 papers and three livestreamed panels on corruption and the media in the Pacific, Post-COP21, climate change and the challenge facing journalism educators in the Asia-Pacific, and Pacific journalism education with a focus on recent unrest at PNG universities.

Also, Kalafi Moala, Tongan publisher and broadcaster and deputy chair of the Pasifika Media Association (PasiMA), gave an inspiring closing address.

The group also held a strategising “fono” at the PMC attended by the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) manager Francis Herman, Australian Press Council research and communications director Michael Rose, Massey University communications lecturer Dr Victoria Quade, Aterina Samasoni-Pele (UNESCO Pacific) and Professor David Robie, director of the PMC.

“It isn’t always easy to get through at such huge international conferences to make your voices heard — not as individuals but as one voice,” Misa said.

“But we cannot also progress by looking back at our past divisions while the world looks on. That is something we have talked about in our first successful fono under MeP.

‘Long way to go’
“We are not always perfect and we can never please everyone without acknowledging and addressing issues facing the journalism education sector.

“As far as we know, we have a long way to go and will continue to come across hurdles in our line of work.

“We need to move on, make friends, forge partnerships and of course trust each other. Ask for help. We need the media industry as part of our work.”

Progress had been made at the meeting and since MeP was formed in Suva, Fiji, in 2015, Misa said.

“There is hope, and the last thing this region needs is duplication of commitment, investment and efforts to achieve our goals. We will not reinvent those wheels again as we need to move on and support each other all the way.”

She welcomed PMC director Professor Robie as academic adviser.

“Journalism schools and TVET institutions need supporting academics like Dr Robie and many others to share insights and experiences to support our cause and journey.”

Misa also thanked her colleagues for their trust in her taking the MeP strategy further and also University of the South Pacific journalism head Dr Shailendra Singh as a “resourceful secretary”.

“I would not be able to do it without your help.

“Thank you MeP. Let that light continue to shine in the region.”

A selection of Asia-Pacific peer-reviewed papers and panels delivered at the conference will be published in a special edition of Pacific Journalism Review later this year.

Misa Vicky Lepou being interviewed after the Pacific journalism education fono. Image: Eliki Drugunalevu
Misa Vicky Lepou being interviewed after the Pacific journalism education fono. Image: Eliki Drugunalevu

The Pacific preconference was staged in partnership with the PMC and the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia (JERAA).

Some 220 people from 43 countries took part in WJEC.

The Asia-Pacific delegation at WJEC and the preconference assisted by PMC and the listed donors was:
Misa Vicky Lepou, (MeP) president and head of journalism, National University of Samoa – UNESCO NZ
Dr Shailendra Singh, (Mep) secretary and head of journalism, University of the South Pacific, Fiji – UNESCO NZ
Eliki Drugunalevu, broadcasting assistant lecturer and acting Radio Pasifik manager, USP, Fiji – NZ Institute of Pacific Research
Ana Lupe, journalism tutor, Tongan Institute of Higher Education (TIHE) – PACMAS
Dave Mandavah, journalism coordinator, Vanuatu Institute of Technology, Vanuatu – NZIPR
Emily Matasororo, journalism and public relations strand leader, University of Papua New Guinea – NZIPR
Eddie Osifelo, journalist, Solomon Star, Honiara, Solomon Islands – NZIPR
Maria Sagrista, multimedia lecturer and researcher at the Divine Word University, Madang, PNG – NZIPR

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Dr Hermin Indah Wahyuni (left, Indonesia) and Professor Crispin Maslog (Philippines) at WJEC in New Zealand. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

Alexander Rheeney, editor-in-chief, PNG Post-Courier – Transparency International NZ and PMC

Jose Maria G Carlos, broadcaster with CNN Philippines, Manila – Pacific Media Centre
Professor Crispin Maslog, chair of the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre, Manila, Philippines – Asia New Zealand Foundation
Dr Hermin Indah Wahyuni, head of the masters in media and communication science programme, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia – ANZF

Pacific journalism education "fono" participants at the WJEC. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
Pacific journalism education “fono” participants at the WJEC. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
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  1. Hi Dr David Robie,
    I personally would like to say thank you so much for being so helpful and kind to bring me to participate in the WJEC. It is a great honor and privilege for me to attend this world event. I would also like to extend my sincere appreciation to PMC reporters for the excellent work during the WJEC. I have to say that you have a very good team; they are very young and smart. Congratulations and keep up the good work to elevate the spirit of Oceania. I Pray that God will always be in our side to drive us forward despite the challenges ahead of us. Fa’afetai
    Dave Mandavah
    Vanuatu Journalism School (VIT)
    Port Vila

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