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Friday, October 12, 2007

Solomon Star Editor attends Regional Forum Media Workshop in Tonga ahead of Forum Leaders Meeting

Journalists from around the Pacific region are gearing up for the upcoming Forum Island Leaders meeting, with a Regional Forum Media Workshop in Nuku'alofa from October 11-13.

Eight Pacific Island journalists from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Niue are joining local Tongan journalists in a three-day workshop that aims at preparing journalists with information they need to cover the Forum meeting to be held October 15-19.

Matai Akauola the Director of News for Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, the co-trainer, said the workshop is essential because by better understanding the issues discussed in the meeting the journalists will be better prepared with their questions and how to write their stories, said Matai.

Greg Urwin the Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat will speak on the issues for the Forum Leaders Meeting on October 12. Others will speak on regional issues like the Pacific Plan, Security, RAMSI and local issues like Tonga's Political Reforms and the economy after the 16/11 riots.

Hon 'Afu'alo Matoto Tonga's Minister of Information said in his opening address that the media has a difficult and challenging role, it acts as a bridge to connect leaders and followers, the rulers and the people they rule and various sectors in society.

"It can be a force for good and it can be a force for evil. Its role is not to please but to be impartial, to encourage what is good, expose corruption and mismanagement and criticise constructively."

He said that despite the recognition by the Government the importance of media in getting people informed, it is difficult for it to accept that there should also be a reverse flow of information.

"The Government's idea of the media's role is normally along the lines of control and when the noise provided becomes unbearable, it opts towards stifling and muzzling the media which was done in Tonga 3-4 years ago until the courts ruled against the legislative as unconstitutional," he added.

The workshop is held prior to the Forum meeting every year. It is funded by the Forum Secretariat in partnership with the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA).

Pacific participants include Dickson Sorariba from PNG National Broadcasting Corporation, Robert Iroga the Editor of the Solomon Star Newspaper, Sandra Phillip from the Nauru Media Bureau, Patrick Lino a Broadcaster from Niue and Pacnews.

Source: Matangi Tonga Online

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