8 May 2009

Pacific journalists regret lack of access to information

12:16 pm on 8 May 2009

Journalists attending a Media Freedom Workshop in Samoa say the free flow of information in the Pacific region is sometimes stifled by those in positions of authority not being accessible to reporters.

The 14 countries represented at the workshop all related similar experiences where authorities, particularly government officials, do not answer media enquiries and refuse requests for interviews.

The participants from Samoa and American Samoa felt that there was a need to educate ministers, directors and senior managers that as public servants they should answer and be accountable to the public and should disseminate information to the public through the media.

Pacific journalists also face hurdles covering village council decisions and urged that public awareness about the role of the media be carried out in countries where this is a problem.

The participants also recognised that media organisations and journalists have to exercise good judgement when reporting culturally sensitive issues.