3 May 2012

UN official says Pacific govts need to take lead in improving press freedom

6:33 am on 3 May 2012

A United Nations representative says governments need to take a lead role to improve press freedom in the pacific region.

May the 3rd marks World Press Freedom Day.

The regional representative for the Pacific for the United Nations office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is Matilda Bogner.

Matilda Bogner says recent violence against journalists in PNG when the government changed, and apparent self-censorship in Fiji after a period of official censorship is concerning.

She says governments need to make clear public statements that they support press freedom, and take action against anyone who appears to be infringing that.

"So if there is intimidation or if there are attacks against journalists, the government needs to react promptly to show that it doesn't support those attacks, to show that it will take effective action to stop that type of behaviour."

Matilda Bogner says governments can play a huge role in promoting an environment where they accept criticism, and see it as part of the legitimate process of government.