From left: Papua New Guinea’s National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) managing director Kora Nou, PNG Minister for Communications and IT Honourable Timothy Masiu, USP Deputy VCP regional campus and global engagement Dr Giulio Paunga and USP Journalism Programme coordinator Associate Professor Dr Singh. Picture: VILIAME TAWANAKORO
By VILIAME TAWANAKORO
The University of the South Pacific’s Journalism Programme has penned three historic Memorandum of Understandings that will see increased collaboration with local and regional media partners in areas such as upskilling and training for students, joint workshops, seminars, and related media activities as well as research opportunities, staff exchanges, publication of the student training newspaper, Wansolwara, and internship opportunities.
Yesterday, Papua New Guinea’s National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) formalised the three-year MOU partnerships with the region’s longest running journalism programme at Laucala Campus, signed by NBC managing director Kora Nou and PINA managing editor Makereta Komai respectively.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by PNG’s Minister for Communication & Information Technology, Timothy Masiu, and USP’s deputy vice-chancellor and vice-president regional campuses and global engagement, Dr Giulio Paunga.
“It is indeed history because we have never had such an MOU between this prestigious university and our National Broadcasting Corporation, which is a flagship of PNG,” said Mr Masiu.
“The intention of this MOU is basically threefold – student training, staff exchanges and joint workshops, seminars, research activities. We are really looking forward to this; very interesting times ahead for NBC and your university.”
To further strengthen the MOU, Mr Masiu announced a $10,000 funding support for the journalism programme through the PINA office as NBC’s managing director was also the chairman of PINA.
Mr Masiu also shared his excitement and delight at being part of the signing ceremony and reminisced about his time as a broadcaster for NBC, and later a journalist for The National newspaper in Port Moresby.
Dr Paunga, in welcoming the Minister and his delegation, said the University was also currently working closely with the PNG Government and the progress of this collaboration demonstrated great things to come between the two countries, its people and future students.
USP Journalism programme coordinator Associate Professor Dr Shailendra Singh said the programme was doing some good work in journalism in Fiji and the region, and commended Ms Komai and Mr Nou for their cooperation and vision to see the MOU come to fruition.
“The MOU we have signed is going to take the training and development of our journalists to another level,” he said.
“We have been training journalists for a long time. Under this MOU, we will be able to decide our own agenda when it comes to training and research, instead of everything being designed from someplace else and us merely implementing it.
“We know PNG will be sending students to study at USP. Talks are underway and if that happens then there will be greater collaboration and interaction between students coming from PNG.”
Dr Singh said USP had 12-member countries and PNG was set to be the 13th member if talks go according to plan.
On 3 May, USP Journalism signed the first MOU with Fiji Times Limited. The partnership included, among other supportive initiatives, the publication of Wansolwara, twice a year. The first Wansolwara edition for 2023 was published in the Sunday Times last week and featured 32 pages of news, sports and special reports written and produced by USP journalism students across Fiji and the region.
Dr Shailendra Singh said the partnership with Fiji Times Ltd was also a boost for the programme.
“This is a historic moment not just for us but also for our students as this will give them the exposure they need to contribute and improve the standard of journalism in our region,” he said.
“Fiji Times Ltd has been supportive of the USP Journalism Programme for many years, and this partnership will strengthen their commitment to promote a free and fair environment for journalists.”
Fiji Times Pte Ltd general manager Christine Lyons said the company would cover the printing of Wansolwara twice in the academic year. This amounted to one publication per semester.
“It will be circulated as an insert in The Fiji Times as part of its corporate social responsibility,” she said.
Fiji Times Ltd was represented by editor-in-chief, Fred Wesley at the May MOU signing.
- Viliame Tawanakoro is a final-year journalism student at USP’s Laucala Campus. He is also the 2023 student editor for Wansolwara, USP Journalism’s student training newspaper and online publication.