Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Pacific media monitors essential, says regional network.

PFF, Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS --As a global “23 Actions in 23 Days” media campaign gets underway on November 1, Pacific journalists are being urged to remain vigilant of threats to their work, and unafraid to report threats.

Regional media monitoring network the Pacific Freedom Forum, PFF, says monitoring work helps ensure free expression and public access to information, and will help break the culture of impunity which often diminishes the ability of journalists to seek and report the truth.
“Too often, the intimidation, threats and attacks on journalists by those who cannot stand to be questioned or exposed, goes unpunished,” says PFF co-chair Titi Gabi of Papua New Guinea.

Attacks across the region highlighted in the IFJ inaugural Pacific Press Freedom report launched in May 2012, are often not referred to police for investigation. Of those that are, those which see a prosecution case brought are rare.

 “This lack of accountability ensures a culture of impunity is allowed to continue, and deepens the reluctance of journalists to probe or investigate issues in the public interest,” says Gabi, who authored the Papua New Guinea chapter of the regional report.

“We urge Pacific editors, news and human rights organisations to take action between now and 23 November by featuring or encouraging debate over impunity and how it affects the media role of ensuring a balanced, informed and fearless public debate on issues of the day.”

Gabi made the call as PFF begins its support for a global “23 actions, 23 days” media campaign aimed at ending impunity surrounding threats to freedom of expression and free speech. The global International Day to End Impunity, on November 23, was launched by the  International Freedom of Expression Exchange, IFEX, in November 2011. The 2012 campaign is a 23-day event beginning November 1.

“Silencing journalists through fear and violence affects their families and workplaces, but also the public interest,” says PFF co-chair Monica Miller of American Samoa. “Impunity surrounds an attack, threat, or harassment of media with a cloak of silence and even worse, acceptance. Without media monitoring helping to accurately record and raise the alarm on unpunished offences,  an act done with impunity becomes a series of acts building up to a cultural norm which has little to do with Pacific values or media ethics.”
“As we begin three weeks of activism towards November 23, PFF encourages action and information sharing by Pacific journalists and news organisations on the impact of impunity in Pacific newsrooms, and Pacific communities.”.—ENDS

The Pacific Freedom Forum is a member of the International Freedom of Expression based in Toronto, Canada. IFEX is the most extensive community of leaders defending and promoting freedom of expression around the world.  IFEX chose 23 November - symbolic because it's the anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre, the single deadliest day for journalists in recent history - as the International Day to End Impunity. The purpose of the day is to raise public awareness and showcase the work of organisations working for justice for those being persecuted for practising their right to freedom of expression. This is the campaign's second year.
IFEX campaign link:
IFJ Inaugural Pacific Press Freedom report:
Pacific Media Watch:

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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