The British High Commission in Honiara, Solomon Islands, has granted major funding to the Samoa-based Pasifika Media Association (PasiMA) to finance regional online media education.
The grant was approved during a meeting in Apia last week.
Apia, Samoa – The Chairman and Administrative Director of Pasifika Media Association (PasiMA) met in Apia last week with The British Deputy High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Mr Tom Oppenheim, to draft a funding agreement in support of PasiMA’s work.
The funds are intended to finance a major regional project to provide online media educational and training resources for Pacific island journalists and media operators.
At the end of the two-day meeting, PasiMA Chairman Savea Sano Malifa said, “On behalf of PasiMA, I would like to extend our gratitude to the Deputy High Commissioner and the British government for their support in pursuing our goals.
”We trust that the funds being extended will help promote and protect the people’s right to freedom of expression in the Pacific, and we are mindful that they shall be wisely spent.”
The board of directors of PasiMA, the Pacific region’s leading professional media organization of independent media owners, operators and principals, sees ongoing media education as a priority need for effective media development.
In response to this need, the new PasiMA project will develop an online professional-support and distance-learning network grounded in Pacific culture and values. It will be tailored to the needs of working journalists in the Pacific.
PasiMA believes that the creation of a 21st Century online media support and training network, emerging from a Pacific perspective, will make advanced media training easily accessible to regional media professionals.
Such a facility should also contribute to their increased capacity and broadly support community media markets in the region.
The PasiMA project will involve a number of partnerships with existing journalism programmes and media-related organizations in the region.
A primary project focus will the development of teaching modules designed to provide existing professional journalists with the additional skills, knowledge and expertise required to venture deeper into the important field of investigative reporting.
In addition, a specific training and capacity building programme for media proprietors and staff in the generation of ideas and the furtherance of the development of multi-media platforms will be made available. This will entail the use of social media in both developing commercial viability and increasing news and information flow.
The new online resources will be designed to assist prospective and existing media owners and managers with business management tools and models for business sustainability.
The project proposal was developed with the assistance of Associate Professor Martin Hadlow, formerly of the University of Queensland School of Journalism and Communication.
Said he: “The ongoing development of the independent media and free press is vital for the furtherance of good governance and democracy in the region.
“This project addresses and builds upon the expressed needs of media practitioners in upgrading their skills and work practices, thus enabling them to better serve their newspaper and magazine readers, television viewers, radio listeners and online consumers.”
The project will commence immediately, with an anticipated launch date of October 2012 for the online programme.
Deputy High Commissioner Oppenheim says that the British government is very pleased to assist PasiMA with this important work.
“We’ve been closely involved in the research that identified the training needs this project will address,” he says. “We look forward to working with PasiMA to see this important project through to fruition.”
PasiMA Administrative Director Ana Currie, who is based in Hawai‘i, will serve as project manager in support of a 12-member project team.
The primary organizational goals of PasiMA are to:
• Promote and defend values of media freedom;
• Promote and uphold ethical practices and standards;
• Promote and develop good governance and professionalism;
• Facilitate and provide training and education for media in the Pacific region.
PasiMA is guided by a 7-member Board of Directors, led by an Executive Committee that includes Savea Sano Malifa (Editor-in-Chief of Samoa Observer) as Chair, Kalafi Moala (Publisher and CEO of Tonga’s Taimi Media Network) as Vice Chair and John Woods (Managing Editor of Cook Islands News) as Secretary-Treasurer.
PasiMA’s website (http://www.pacificmedia.org) features a real-time feed of Pacific news from content providers around the region, as well as updates on critical media freedom issues in the region.