Discussions are scheduled in Suva later this week between parliamentarians and senior Fiji media executives, including the Fijian Media Association, as part of a programme of support to the Fiji Parliament.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Fiji Parliament Support Project (FPSP) in collaboration with the Australian Government-funded Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) and the Fiji Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) are collaborating on this inaugural media roundtable.
The UNDP FPSP’s project is funded by the European Union and the Governments of New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
“The project has provided support to the Fiji Parliament in the fields of professional development and training for Members of Parliament to increase their capacity to effectively undertake their duties, improving parliamentary processes and procedures, building the capacity of the Parliament secretariat staff, and supporting the work of Parliament Committees,” said Effective Governance Team Leader at the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Dyfan Jones.
Last year, the UNDP parliament project provided input into training sessions around parliamentary reporting by the media for Fiji journalists. This training was organised and funded by PACMAS in collaboration with MIDA.
“The March 17th roundtable provides space for dialogue and discussion between the Fiji media executives and representatives from both Government and Opposition parliamentarians and their caucus staff. It’s envisaged the parliamentarians and the Fiji media will exchange views on the challenges in working with each other and mapping a way forward,” said PACMAS Program Manager, Francis Herman.
“This roundtable is a major collaborative effort by a range of development partners to improve the capacity of journalists and communication practitioners in the Pacific so they can report responsibly on and mediate discussion about key issues affecting development,” he added.
The Secretary-General to Parliament and members of her team will also attend the roundtable along with coordinators of journalism courses at the University of the South Pacific and Fiji National University, and the Suva-based Pacific Islands News Association (PINA).
A media workshop will precede this roundtable on March 16th to deliberate several initiatives to strengthen media reporting of parliament and relations with parliamentarians. These include the publication of a media handbook on parliamentary reporting, and, establishing a Fiji Parliamentary Press Gallery – both of which were proposed during last year’s PACMAS parliamentary workshop and consultations in Suva.
The UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Effective Governance Team Leader - Dyfan Jones, and the past president of the NSW Parliamentary Press Gallery Stephen Chase, will co-facilitate this latest media initiative. Chase is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Sydney based parliamentary reporter.
The Pacific Media Assistance Scheme PACMAS supports better governance in the Pacific region by contributing to the development of a diverse, independent and professional Pacific media system. It’s core goal is to facilitate discourse across government, business and civil society, via the Pacific media.www.pacmas.org
Emily Moli, UNDP Knowledge Communications Analyst, tel: (679) 3227 504; email: email@example.com or
Merana Kitione, PACMAS Technical Advisor, tel: (679) 7266 416; email: firstname.lastname@example.org