Pacific Media Association Launched
The Pacific Media Association (PacMA) was formed in Apia, Samoa, today at a meeting of media representatives from around the Pacific region.
In attendance were media operators from Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands and Hawai‘i. Representatives from Vanuatu, Fiji and Papua New Guinea were unable to attend but contributed via virtual communications.
Savea Sano Malifa (Editor-in-Chief of Samoa Observer) was elected Chair of the new organisation, and Kalafi Moala (Publisher and CEO of Tonga’s Taimi Media Network) was named Vice Chair. John Woods (Managing Editor of Cook Islands News) will serve as Secretary-Treasurer.
These media practitioners will lead the new board, which is comprised of Pacific regional media owners, operators and principals.
The new organisation’s stated goals are to promote and defend the values of media freedom, ethics, good governance, and to provide training for all media in the Pacific region.
“It’s a great honour for me to lead this new organisation,” said Savea, “and I know that I and all of the members will do everything in our power to advocate our core values.”
Statement on Fiji
One of the key outcomes of PacMA’s first meeting was a statement of the members’ position on the current media restrictions in Fiji.
The statement said, “The association finds censorship of the media to be unacceptable, and we view the situation in Fiji to be of utmost concern. We extend our sympathy to our colleagues in Fiji, and because of our media freedom stance, and due to continuing state control of media, PacMA does not support or endorse media training courses held in Fiji.
“However, we would be grateful if Commodore Bainimarama would accept a meeting in Fiji with a delegation from our new association to discuss with him, in the Pacific Way, how we can arrive at solutions that may be of benefit to all parties.
“PacMa believes that a free media can be a powerful tool for positive nation-building.”
Membership in PacMA will include three categories: full, associate and individual members. Full voting members are media companies and regional and national media organizations that share PacMA’s general objectives, while associate members consist of academic institutions, news service suppliers and aligned NGOs and international organisations. Individual members include information officers, individual practitioners, freelance journalists, and other interested parties.
In the coming weeks, PacMA will develop a workplan that will reflect its core values and its organisational objectives.
“This is a historic day for Pacific media,” said Moala. “We are laying the foundation for a media organisation that will re-define and shape a new media approach that is deeply grounded in Pacific values and presents to the world a new way of looking at media, content, and stories – and the Pacific itself.”
PacMA has established a temporary website: http://www.pacific-media.org