NADI, Fiji—“Giving voice to the voiceless” and “championing the rights of all peoples” were key messages highlighted at the Human Rights and Media Forum attended this week by senior journalists and government communication officers from 13 Pacific countries.
Supported by the Australian Government and European Union, the Forum reaffirmed the vital role of media in highlighting human rights issues and the importance of news reporting with a human rights-based approach.
The Forum highlighted the importance of building strong relationships between government communication personnel and journalists in sharing and disseminating information.
An Outcomes Document will be presented in poster format for newsrooms in the region, providing practical tips for ‘rights-based reporting’.
“Human rights-oriented journalism is more focused on global instead of selective reporting, with an emphasis on the vulnerable and empowerment for the affected and marginalised people—a voice for the voiceless,” Professor David Robie, prominent journalist and Director of Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Pacific Centre, told participants at the opening of the Forum.
Marian Kupu of Broadcom Broadcasting Limited Tonga said, “I find the three-day forum very encouraging because I have learnt about my country’s human rights commitments and I see my role as a journalist to report on the gaps to encourage decision makers to prioritize and address the issues.”
The Forum was organized by the Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT) of the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS), the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) Journalism.
The three-day forum has strengthened media capacity in ‘rights-based reporting’ to reflect the aspirations of Pacific island communities for equality, development and social justice, SPC’s Team Leader of RRRT, Nicol Cave, said.