7 May 2013

Pacific media ombudsman to act as backstop to existing self-regulation

12:31 pm on 7 May 2013

An independent regional body to regulate the media is intended to act as a backstop to existing journalism associations that address ethics and other issues of public interest.

Pacific Media organisations gathered in Solomon Islands last week for World Press Freedom Day resolved to establish a Pacific Media Ombudsman by the same day next year.

The Pacific Freedom Forum's co-ordinator, Jason Brown, says over the next six months approaches will be made to donors for set-up funding and to governments for their support.

He says previous attempts to operate media councils at a national level have failed.

"I know we tried very hard in the Cook Islands to set up a media council and did succeed in getting people onto it but it was actively sabotaged by the government of the day a few years back. By raising it to the regional level we hope to get away from that level of state interference."

Jason Brown says so far the Pacific Media Ombudsman initiative has received support from the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.