Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pacific Freedom Forum relocates regional media freedom meet.

A regional media event aimed at promoting press freedom in the Pacific will bring reporters across the region to Apia, Samoa, May 6 to 8.

 The Pacific Freedom Forum, UNESCO and SPC ‘Building Courage under Fire’ three-day workshop and seminar was originally planned to take place in Suva, Fiji, to coincide with World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

 However, the event was relocated due to the Fiji regime’s imposition of emergency restrictions and repressive clampdown on the media since an appeals court ruling on April 9 declared the 2006 coup led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama illegal. 

 “While we felt that Fiji would have been the ideal workshop venue given our theme, we have a responsibility to ensure the funding support we received is used effectively, and this would have been impossible given the emergency regulations in place there,” says Pacific Freedom Forum chair Susuve Laumaea. 

 Part of the cancelled event in Fiji was a regional UNESCO World Press Freedom Day celebration on May 3. The current emergency ‘laws’ there now make such an event illegal.

  “The Fiji media situation shows clearly how media freedom affects all Pacific Islanders, not just those who work in the media.  We want to look at ways to encourage that understanding, not just in our newsrooms, but across our communities and in the homes and minds of more Pacific people.”

 Laumaea is joining delegates from Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the host country at the media freedom workshop in Apia.

 The primary objectives of the Workshop are to provide Pacific journalists with the latest information, skills, and contacts to protect and promote media freedom in their countries as well as to firmly establish the Pacific Freedom Forum as a going concern. 

 “Overall, the intent is not to single out any one country, but to ensure the Pacific context of the universal right to free speech and expression of opinions gets some timely attention and forward-thinking debate from journalists to enhance their everyday work,” he says.

 Workshop trainers are Deborah Muir of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and leading Pacific journalist, author, and media commentator Kalafi Moala, of Tonga.


The ‘Courage under Fire’ event is made possible with UNESCO IPDC funding, and support from global media freedom watchdog IFEX.





PFF interim Chair

Susuve Laumaea | Sunday Chronicle Newspaper | Papua New Guinea

Mobile: 675-684 5168 | Office: 675-321-7040 | Email:


PFF interim co-Chair

Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa

Mob    684 258-4197 | Office 684 633-7793 | Email:


The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media.

We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance.

In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.

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