BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
THE Australian Deputy High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands acknowledged the Media Association of Solomon (MASI) for hosting the 6th Pacific Media Summit in Honiara last week.
While embracing the theme of this year’s summit- The digital transformation-turning threats into opportunities for the pacific media, Anne Vincent said she believed participants have productive, interesting, absorbing discussions during the weeklong summit.
“The challenges discussed and the opportunities that come with them are multiple and complex and interconnected. I really sure that many great ideas have been generated from your experiences,’’ Anne Vincent said.
Making her remarks during the closing ceremony on 29 Thursday, September last week at the Pacific Casino Hotel in Honiara Anne Vincent said Digital technologies have blurred the line between prints and broadcast media and between outlets and their audiences and exchanged the concepts of Morden journalists, or what journalism is, and what media freedom is.
She told participants that Australia strongly believes that freedom of expression is a fundamental part of a vibrant conversation and a culture of accountability.
She said that the right to freedom of expression extends to any media including print, broadcasting, and advertising, and will make sure to ensure that individuals are also able to join the same human rights through this digital era.
“The internet and digital communication provide an unparalleled opportunity to the exercise of the freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association and the creation and protection of human rights,’’ she said.
According to the deputy High Commissioner, Journalists around the world have used digital platforms to shine a light on issues and to investigate issues to flourish.
“The decline of public trust in factual information, the rise of parallel narratives and conspiracy theories from the government to journalist, from citizens to journalist has serious consequences, the human rights, democracy and social security.
“Many governments used laws to protect the national security, public order and public morals to climb down reporting on these critical issues,’’ she said.
Anne Vincent said that Australia has been a member of the media freedom coalition since the 11th of 2020 because she strongly supports the principle of a free press and the safety of journalists and actively advocates for the protection of journalists’ freedom of expression bilaterally and multilaterally.
she further stated that the Australian government has announced an Indo-Pacific broadcasting strategy to expand regional transmission and content production, and media capacity training for pacific partners that is now here and for the following years.
“The challenges and opportunities you’ve discussed during this summit are challenges and opportunities that affect us all.
“We hope that you and we, all of us, can find ways to use powerful tools that as digital communication that creates opportunities to share stories, preserve cultures and languages, document histories, report and witness events, influence decision-makers, educate and inform the world and the pacific region,’’ said Anne Vincent.
She said Australia has been supporting and enhancing skills, and training for Pacific media through the Media Pacific assistance scheme (PACMAS).