Monday, February 20, 2006

Balanced media in the Pacific

Four codes of practice for Pacific island media have been drafted by Thomson consultant Ian Beales as part of the Commonwealth Media Development Fund (CMDF) project.
After years of mutual antipathy between the Samoan government and the independent media on the islands, a change of leadership in 2003 brought a thaw in relations.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi suggested the press should introduce a code of practice – despite the fact that such a US style code existed and was operational, having been adapted by the Journalists Association of Western Samoa (JAWS).
However the executive of JAWS felt that it was time that Samoa had a tailor-made code and, possibly,a self-regulatory Media Council to adjudicate upon alleged breaches of it. JAWS therefore sought assistance from The Thomson Foundation and Beales spent two weeks in Samoa, consulting widely with members of the media, Government and civil society.
The outcome is not one but four suggested interlinked codes, aimed at providing both general and specific rules and guidance, for the whole media spectrum and specific media branches covering broadcasting practice in radio and television; advertising practice in newspapers, magazines and cinema as well as licensed TV and radio; and the Cinema and DVD(an advisory code only).
The Foundation is now seeking further CMDF support so that Beales can return to Samoa and help create a Media Council and implement the codesposted 31-January-05

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