Pacific media in crisis, warns former PNG, Samoa editor Alex Rheeney

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PACMAS team leader Alex Rheeney speaking at the 2024 Pacific International Media Conference in Suva, Fiji, last week
PACMAS team leader Alex Rheeney speaking at the 2024 Pacific International Media Conference in Suva, Fiji, last week . . . trying to find solutions for Pacific journalism challenges. Image: David Robie/APR

NBC News

A former newspaper editor believes the journalism profession in Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island countries is in crisis.

Team leader of the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS)/ABC International Development (ABCID) Alexander Rheeney spoke of this issue at the 2024 Pacific International Media Conference in Fiji last week.

Reflecting on his role as a former editor of both the PNG Post-Courier newspaper in Papua New Guinea and the Samoa Observer, Rheeney said a lot of challenges were facing journalists in PNG, especially over the quality of reporting and gender-based violence

Pacific Journalism Review founding editor Dr David Robie speaking at the launch of the 30th anniversary edition of PJR
Pacific Journalism Review founding editor Dr David Robie speaking at the launch of the 30th anniversary edition of the journal at the 2024 Pacific International Media Conference in Suva, Fiji, last week. View NBC video clip. Image: NBC News screenshot/APR

He said the harassment mainly affected female journalists in newsrooms around the Pacific and Papua New Guinea was no exception.

Rheeney’s concern now is to find solutions to these challenges.

Rheeney told the NBC that every newsroom had its own challenges, and the 2024 Pacific International Media Conference was a great forum that brought journalists past, and present, including media academics and experts together to share and find answers to these problems.

He said the proposed PNG media policy was seen as a threat and challenge for some.

Many journalists and media houses were questioning what this policy might do to affect their way of reporting.

Papua New Guinea’s Information Communication and Technology Minister Timothy Masiu, whose ministry was spearheading this media policy, was also part of the conference and he spoke positively about the policy.

Minister Masiu said that the draft policy was to elevate the media profession in PNG and called for the development of media self-regulation in the country without government’s direct intervention.

The draft policy also was intended to strike a balance between the media’s ongoing role on transparency and accountability on the one hand, and the dissemination of development information on the other hand.

Getting the shot
Getting the shot . . . journalists taking photographs at last week’s 2024 Pacific International Media Conference in Suva, Fiji. Image: David Robie/APR

Republished from NBC News with permission.

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