14 Sep 2015

Attitudes to Pacific journalists 'must change'

12:29 pm on 14 September 2015

A Pacific media watchdog says something needs to be done to address what it says is a level of disdain that's often shown towards the region's journalists.

The Pacific Freedom Forum's comments come after seven journalists attending the Pacific Islands Forum in Papua New Guinea last week were reportedly detained for failing to pay a US$350 journalists' visa fee.

The journalists say they weren't informed that there was a visa fee during the accreditation process, and PNG's immigration minister, Rimbink Pato, has promised to investigate.

But a spokesperson for the Pacific Freedom Forum, Jason Brown, says the incident appears to be another case of the fourth estate being sidelined at the Pacific Islands Forum.

"And it's merely the latest in a long history of forum meetings that treat the media very much as third class citizens. Media being left out in the blazing sunshine in tropical climes, or pouring rain."

Mr Brown says the PFF wants a meeting between the forum, governments and media representatives so they can hammer out differences and create an equal playing field.