UNESCO calls to defend media freedom for the sake of justice & peace


Ms. Nisha of UNESCO addressing the media in celebrating World Press Freedom Day in Samoa 03 May 2017

BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 04 MAY 2017: UNESCO Resident Representative in Samoa Ms. Nisha has called on everyone to stand up and defend freedom.

“I call on everyone to sharpen their minds to defend the freedom that is essential for justice and peace,” she stated during the celebration of the World Media Freedom Day organized by the national media association of Samoa – JAWS 03 May.

Nisha said the United Nations is spearheading plan of action for journalist’s including the issue of impunity with partners around the world.

She emphasized the crucial role that journalists and the media play in the struggle of many colonized nations and also in legalizing freedom.

“Alongside social reform, the media with a critical mind in not just report on incidents and events, but also reflecting on social, political and economic issues, and the changes that is taking place in social fabric,” said Nisha.

“Journalism stands before the horizon where the old challenges are merging with new things, and the media business is shaking to the core with the rise of internet and social media

“Citizen journalists are re-drawing the boundaries of journalism as media accountability and credibility are falling under question,” she said.

“Online, the lines are blurring between advertising and editorial material and private actors are rising as the key inter mediums accompanied by new forms of private censorship,” said Nisha.

There was a moment of silence in memory of the 102 journalists who paid the ultimate price with their lives in 2016 alone.

Galumalemana Hunkin-Media Council Member, Ms. Nisha, UNESCO Resident Representative, Misa Vicky Lepou, Head of the School of Journalism at NUS, Rudy Bartley JAWS Vice President, Asenati Taugasolo-JAWS Secretary, Verona Parker-JAWS Treasurer, and Emile Adams, Media Council member.

The Head of the Journalism school at the National University of Samoa, Misa Vicky Lepou spoke on the efforts to upgrade journalism training hence the University accepting a call for a Bachelors degree in journalism.

She acknowledged the support of JAWS of the degree course that will include studies in digital and social media.

She shared video clips produced by the journalism students in a Unesco funded project to explore school related gender based violence.

The media has documented incidents in school, inter school fights, cyber bullying and physical aggression between boys and girls, and said that there is a significant gap in awareness programmes.

The National Media Association – JAWS is celebrating Media Freedom Day, with the launching of various media activities that will focus on “Media Freedom and Social Media in Samoa” and highlight the positive use of social media than the abuse and misuse.