Wednesday, 17 August 2011

New chair for Pacific media freedom watchdog

PFF, Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS --The Pacific Freedom Forum has a new chair – Ms. Titi Gabi, an experienced journalist from Papua New Guinea.

She replaces the group's first chair, Susuve Laumea, also from PNG.
A former journalist turned public relations worker, Laumaea resigned after objecting to internal criticism from members.
“This is a tough role, advocating freedoms of expression for news media and other sectors, a cause often finding itself embroiled in controversy with governments and business,” says Gabi, from Port Moresby.
“I would like to thank Susuve Laumaea for his contributions, and the confidence of my colleagues from around the region.”
No other nominations were received for the position, with multiple messages of support received via the forum's online group.
Gabi gained a degree in Journalism from the University of Papua New Guinea, was a long-time News director and producer at PNG's EM-TV.  A national and regional media trainer, she moved to radio as News Director at PNGFM Ltd from 2005 until taking up freelancing in 2010.
“I look forward to working with colleagues and further highlighting debate on freedom of expression, and how essential that is to stable democracy and economies.”
Changes at the top mark the third anniversary of founding of the Pacific Freedom Forum as an online network in August 2008. 
Co-chair Monica Miller welcomed the appointment.
“PFF is pleased to maintain a balance between Melanesia and Polynesia at the leadership level of the forum, and we hope to also involve Micronesia to a greater extent.”
Speaking from Pagopago, Miller said the only thing remarkable about having two women at the top at PFF was how unremarkable the nomination process was.
“Apparently, no one, man or woman, had any concerns about two women co-chairs, or even cracked a joke, which was most welcome.”
While gender balance might have been preferred, Miller notes that most newsroom workers around the world today are women, even if management remains mostly dominated by men.
PFF released its first statements under the new chair this week. Miller acted as interim chair after the Laumaea resignation.
Still a young network, PFF has put out more than 100 statements covering all sub regions and with more than 130 members online and at partner group, PIJO, Pacific Islands Journalism Online.
PFF acts as the leading pacific associate for the IFJ Pacific Human Rights and Democracy project, which took its cue from our Samoa meeting in 2009, and is also one of two Pacific-based members for IFEX, the global media alerts body.--ENDS

CONTACT: PFF Chair Titi Gabi | Freelance Journalist | Papua New Guinea Mail: PO Box 7776, Boroko, NCD, Papua New Guinea | Mob: (675) 7314 3929 | Email: PFF co-Chair Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa Mob 684 258-4197 | Office 684 633-7793 | Email: The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media. We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance. In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.

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