Seneviratne: Press freedom should not be aggressive
Journalism students from USP and FNU participate in activities to celebrate World Press Freedom Day 2022 at the USP Journalism newsroom, Laucala campus. Picture: Shivaali Shrutika
By RHEA KUMAR
PRESS freedom should not always be viewed as challenging governments, elite companies and individuals, says USP Journalism Programme consulting lecturer Dr Kalinga Seneviratne.
Speaking on the 2022 World Press Freedom Day theme ‘Journalism under digital siege’, Dr Kalinga said it was not always necessary to be aggressive or violent when reporting news.
“You have to be careful, don’t always be adversarial. At times, media and journalism are needed to report good and positive things too,” he urged students.
The USP Journalism Students Association (JSA) lead the day’s programme with a hive of activities with motivational messages from veteran Pacific journalists Samisoni Pareti and Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson from Samoa. Journalism students from the Fiji National University were also invited to join in the celebration at USP’s Laucala campus.
JSA president Sera Tikotikovatu-Sefeti said the purpose of organising the event was to allow students from both universities to come together as united journalists across the globe.
“I wanted the USP and FNU journalism students to have a special bond. The students from different universities are not ‘different people’ and we will eventually be working in the same industry later on,” she said.
USP second-year journalism student Nikhil Kumar said the reality of what happens on the ground in journalism was very real and professional.
“At the end of the day, you have to grow a thick skin, manage your time and do your work because that’s the job we have aspired to do,” he said.
He said journalism was a risky profession and faced even more danger with the evolution of the digital era.
The guest speakers shared their own personal experiences of being Pacific journalists striving to report news despite political instabilities and increase in cybercrime.
World Press Freedom Day is observed on May 3 to raise awareness on the importance of freedom of the press. It also serves as a reminder to governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.