6 May 2013

Press Freedom Day celebration marks passing of cherished Solomons broadcaster

7:22 pm on 6 May 2013

Pacific media representatives gathered in the Solomon Islands' capital Honiara last week marked the passing of one of the country's most loved broadcasters, Walter Nalangu.

Mr Nalangu, the head of news and current affairs at the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, died of an asthma attack just over a week ago at the age of 47.

Mr Nalangu had been vice president of the Media Association of Solomon Islands since 2009 and the president, George Herming, told Annell Husband he will be greatly missed.

HERMING: He was best known for his contributions towards the development of young journalists and journalism in broadcasting here in the Solomon Islands. And he's also one of the most influential and inspirational persons that has mentored a lot of journalists and aspiring students who wanted to become journalists in the future. And his role was highly regarded by many of us here in the country, as well as some from the region who have also expressed their sadness over his passing away. So we look at him as a role model for young people who are interested in journalism here in the Solomon Islands.

HUSBAND: And his death was obviously unexpected?

HERMING: Yes, his passing was very unexpected. It took many by surprise. And we were shocked on Saturday when news of his death was conveyed to all the members. So we were at a loss at his passing away. We know that he's got this illness for quite a while, and it took him by surprise because nobody is expecting that to happen to a very strong and energetic person like him. So it's really a surprise and it took us by shock.

HUSBAND: What a great loss to to the media community in the Solomon Islands and the listening public in the greater Pacific?

HERMING: Yes, that's right. He's one of the highly regarded persons with a very deep radio voice and he's very popular here in the country. And a lot of people have expressed their shock and sorrow because his voice is well-known across the Solomon Islands on radio, as well as in the Pacific region, as expressed by some of his colleagues from other Pacific countries, who say he's got this natural radio voice. And he's also very energetic and intelligent in his work. He's a professional by himself when he presented his stories on radio, as well as on the online news outlets. So it's a huge loss for us here in the Solomon Islands, as well as for our neighbouring countries in the Pacific.

The president of the Media Association of Solomon Islands, George Herming, speaking to Annell Husband.