24.05.2002 -

Cover Environment, UNESCO Adviser Urges Pacific Journalists

- Radio journalists from around the Pacific met in Samoa this week to look at ways of promoting environment news in their home countries. The 13 mid-career journalists from throughout the Pacific Islands have spend a week at the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) training centre in Apia for a workshop on "Media and the Environment".

"Environmental issues are a huge challenge to the knowledge and skills of journalists in the Pacific", said UNESCO's Regional Communication and Information Adviser, Tarja Virtanen, as she opened the workshop.


Also speaking at opening of the workshop, SPREP Deputy Director Vitolio Lui stressed the critical role that media can play in helping safeguard the Pacific Islands environment. He highlighted the recent exposure by the Solomon Islands' media of plans by Taiwanese and Solomon Islands companiesto dispose of Taiwanese toxic waste in Solomon Islands. Their examination had played a similar role in stopping waste dumping in the Marshall Islands, Samoa, and Tonga, Lui said.


The workshop - funded by UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) - was led by two leading regional broadcasters and trainers: Yaminiasi Gaunavou, radio specialist at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Fiji, and Johnson Honimae, President of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA). Rod Lambert, science communicator at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS), an accredited Centre for the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, was attending as a resource person.


Participants covered a series of theory and practical modules designed to make stories relating to the environment more attractive to listeners.


Along with in-depth analysis and feedback of their approach to environment news, they also produced a series of stories to be broadcaston their local stations.


Participants come from public and government radio stations in Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Marshall islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.


The workshop was the final in a series of IPDCfunded workshops that began in 1999 to train environmental information officers and journalists.


Workshops have been held in Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Marshall Islands, and Papua New Guinea.

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