Media Alliance for the Pacific established with UNESCO support
The UNESCO Office in Apia (Samoa) and Australia's Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) funded the creation of a unique co-operative framework at a meeting in Apia on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2011. The meeting was held at the Le Papaigalagala Campus of the National University of Samoa, from 2 to 4 May. It was supported by the Asia Pacific Office of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
Representatives of Pacific media networks agreed to cooperate as a regional alliance on media freedom and other issues of common concern. As a first step, the Media Alliance for the Pacific (MAP) will create a database of media workers across the Pacific. This will help to improve information sharing, optimize training opportunities, strengthen capacity building and pool regional resources. Other priorities include a regional code of ethics and a regional Pacific media complaints council. Further consultations will be held on these initiatives.
The founding members of MAP were the Pacific Alliance of Development Journalists (PADJ), the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF), the Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA), and the Pacific Women Advancing a Vision of Empowerment (WAVE) Media Network. MAP agreed to invite other networks from the region to join as members, and to form partnerships with other stakeholders.
Marc Neil-Jones reported on the challenges he faced as the editor of the newspaper Vanuatu Trading Post. He underlined in his presentation on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day the importance of an elaboration of a regional code of ethics by MAP as a basis for a regional media complaints council. Participants of the meeting underlined that a code of ethics has also to be an obligatory part of journalism education.