Focus on the challenges faced by Fiji and Pacific media

 
The 2024 Pacific International Media Conference delegates, sponsors, members of the diplomatic corps and guests, pose for a photo during the conference at the Holiday Inn, Suva. Picture: WANSOLWARA

 

By RIYA BHAGWAN

THE challenges faced by Pacific journalists were recognised and the Fijian media was commended for their work by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Co-operatives, Small and Medium Enterprises and Communications Manoa Kamikamica.

Mr Kamikamica was the chief guest at the opening of the three-day 2024 Pacific International Media Conference at the Holiday Inn, Suva.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Co-operatives, Small and Medium Enterprises and Communications Manoa Kamikamica, delivers his address as the chief guest at the opening of the conference. Picture: WANSOLWARA

“It (the Fijian media) has played its role under great strains for the last 16 years. We are now in a position to really accelerate and strengthen the journalism and the media institutions in our country,” Mr Kamikamica said.

Reminding attendees of the government’s commitment to a free press through the re-establishment of the Fiji Media Council, Mr Kamikamica urged diplomatic partners at the conference to support the nation’s media sector in moving forward.

“There are some stormy times ahead in terms of the financial challenges and there is also the need for continued capacity building in the journalistic industry going forward,” he highlighted.

He assured that the government would continue to play its part in supporting the industry, emphasising that the diplomatic corps also played a crucial role in helping the sector grow and thrive amid challenges.

He also acknowledged The University of the South Pacific and its partners the Pacific Islands News Association and the Asia Pacific Media Network, for hosting the first conference of its kind in 20 years, since the 2004 Journalism Education Association of Australia Conference in Suva.

Dr. Matthew Hayward, Acting Head of School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education at the University of the South Pacific. Picture: WANSOLWARA

The challenges posed on the Pacific media are not new, and the opening of the 2024 Pacific International Media Conference at the Holiday Inn in Suva provided a platform for discussing these crucial issues.

Speaking about the threats to media in the Pacific, Dr. Matthew Hayward, Acting Head of School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education at the University of the South Pacific, said, “In coming together, you are providing a space for vital discussions that have not always been easy for us to hold in public.”

Conference chair and Head of Journalism at USP, Dr. Shailendra Singh, echoed similar concerns as he pointed out the digital disruptions, financial instability, political pressures, and, at the extreme, the demise of media organisations as few of the many challenges inflicted on Pacific media.

“Pacific media have never had it easy. This is a tough region in which to be a journalist as well as a media organisation,” Dr. Singh said.

“If you look at Fiji, the advertising sections of the two dailies, The Fiji Times and the Fiji Sun, are a mere shadow of their former glory.”

Conference chair and Head of Journalism at USP, Associate Professor Shailendra Singh. Picture: WANSOLWARA

The decline in revenue for media organisations threatens their very existence, highlighting the dire reality facing media in the Pacific.

The opening of the three-day conference marked the beginning of a significant boost to the Pacific media research, training and development.

The conference concluded on Saturday, July 6, 2024, with the expectation of presenting solutions to the current issues faced by Pacific media or, at the very least, creating a platform for discussions on potential solutions to these challenges.

 

 

 

 

Riya Bhagwan is a second-year Journalism student at The University of the South Pacific, Laucala Campus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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