Tackling Pacific media’s crucial role in climate crisis and press freedom

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World Press Freedom Day and climate crisis
World Press Freedom Day and climate crisis . . . celebrating a vision for Fiji and the Pacific. Image: Wansolwara News

Wansolwara

The news media’s crucial role in climate change and environment journalism was the focus of The University of the South Pacific’s Journalism Programme 2024 World Press Freedom Day celebrations.

The European Union Ambassador to the Pacific, Barbara Plinkert, and Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna were the chief guests at the event last week on May 3.

Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Secretary Dr Sivendra Michael was the keynote speaker.

PACIFIC MEDIA CONFERENCE 4-6 JULY 2024
PACIFIC MEDIA CONFERENCE 4-6 JULY 2024

Plinkert reemphasised journalists’ role in being public’s eyes and ears on the ground, verifying facts, scrutinising those in power and amplifying marginalised voices.

Puna’s message was targeted at Pacific leaders in terms of due recognition to the significant role of environmental journalism in sharing the priorities and realities of the resilient Pacific.

Dr Michael highlighted the need for governments and development partners to work with the local and regional media in mitigating environment and climate change challenges.

The event ended with a panel discussion on the theme for the 2024 World Press Freedom Day — A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the face of the environmental crisis: Fiji and the Pacific.

Media ‘poor cousins’
Associate Professor in Pacific Journalism Dr Shailendra Singh said that the WPFD theme was appropriate since environment and climate change news were relegated to “poor cousins” of politics, sports, business, and entertainment news.

He said it was to understand why this situation persisted and how to address it.

Others at the event included USP deputy vice-chancellor Professor Jito Vanualailai, deputy head of the School of Pacific Arts Dr Rosiana Lagi, and the Regional Representative for the Pacific, UN Human Rights Heike Alefsen.

The event was organised by The University of the South Pacific School of Journalism in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to the Pacific.

Republished from Wansolwara News in collaboration.

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