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By Pita Ligaiula in Waikiki, Hawaii
Cook Islands foreign secretary and Forum Fisheries Committee Chair Tepaeru Herrmaan says the media plays important role in projecting the Pacific voice to the world on key policy issues such as fisheries, especially as geopolitical issues overshadow regional agendas.
This year the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Australian-funded Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) supported journalists from the Pacific to attend and report on the Tuna Commission (WCPFC) annual meeting underway in Honolulu.
“On our fisheries agenda but also in terms of our region’s development agenda, the experiences at least for the Cook Islands this year around the Forum leaders meeting as well as around the APEC meeting which Papua New Guinea hosted, in our view, really emphasised the importance of Pacific media and the critical role that they play in terms of ensuring that our messages as sovereign states are projected globally in our words,” Herrmann said.
“When we come to meetings whether it's this Commission meeting or our leaders get together or any other fora which is focused on our region’s priorities, media play a critical role in ensuring that the focus of coverage is on the agenda and the work of whatever those meetings are about,” she said.
Since Tuna is a billion-dollar industry, the region needs to be better informed on the issues as most Pacific islanders depends on it for their survival.
“You are, I think, on behalf of all people placed in the positions that you are in to be important facilitators of conversations that require first and foremost our people in the region to be informed and then of course to also play the important role in terms of accountability and transparency of governments.
“It is increasingly becoming obvious that some of our significant regional meetings are being overshadowed by geopolitical issues which have little to do with the issues and agendas that we come together to discuss and more to do with global powers and those from beyond our region so I can only encourage each and every one of you,” Herrmaan explained.
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
Media Helping Media