PINA Media chief executive officers (CEOs) and owners met in a virtual one and half day conference hosted by the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) on 15-16 September at the Tavanipupu Island Resort.
The September 2021 summit is the second convening of Pacific Media CEOs and Owners after the inaugural conference in Auckland, New Zealand in February 2019. At that meeting in Auckland, media CEOs identified anti-corruption and investigative reporting as one of the six important issues for PINA to pursue and build media actions and partnerships around the issue.
Therefore, with funding support from the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project through the Pacific Anti-Corruption Journalists Network (PACJN), PINA organized the second CEOs summit with MASI as a Knowledge Sharing Session on Integrity and Anti-Corruption for Pacific Media CEOs and Owners.
PINA Media CEOs and owners acknowledge both the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, the Honourable Manasseh Sogavare, and the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Mr Henry Puna, for sharing their perspectives and priorities on combating anti-corruption in the region, through the Teieniwa Vision. Prime Minister Sogavare reminded media leaders of the ‘vital and pivotal role’ they hold as the fourth estate in democracy – appealing for ‘fair and accurate’ reporting in exposing corruption and integrity issues. The Forum Secretary General reminded the media that holding up the spotlight on corruption and integrity provided an opportunity apply values for transparency, strong governance and clear rules for reporting, ‘on ourselves and on each other’. He said the challenge sits with the media. He challenged Pacific
Media Leaders to, “Don’t just go for keeping our Pacific informed. Please, keep them engaged. Keep them talking – long after you leave them, about the issues and decisions already shaping their lives and our common one Blue Pacific future.”
At this Summit, Pacific Media CEOs and Owners recognised the following:
- The media (including social media) has an important role in the fight against corruption as it can demand accountability and transparency from the public and private sectors;
- The media, and in particular investigative journalism, plays a crucial role in exposing corruption to public scrutiny and fighting against impunity;
- For media reporting and journalism to play an effective role in corruption detection, the media has to be free and independent. Freedom of information (FOI) and whistleblower protection laws are important in exercising the role of the media in detecting and reporting on corruption;
- The need to provide leadership in promoting and delivering anti-corruption reporting in line with the Teieniwa Vision, developed at the first Pacific Regional Leaders Conference on Corruption in Kiribati in 2020 and then adopted by the Pacific Island Forum Leaders on 3
February 2021; and
- The media needs further support of partners and donors to continue building its capacity to monitor and report on corruption.
Pacific Media CEOs and Owners at this Summit commit to:
- Understand the role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 16) in boosting anti-corruption co-operation and promoting the advancement of the Teieniwa Vision;
- Share experiences and challenges reporting on anti-corruption;
- Discuss ways for further co-operation including with potential support from UN-PRAC, PACJN and PINA in reporting on corruption prevention, in line with UNCAC, SDG 16 and Teieniwa
- Support advocacy around robust FOI and whistleblower protection legislation and implementation across the Pacific;
- Provide leadership in promoting and delivering anti-corruption reporting in the Pacific;
- Increase the capacity of media to monitor and report on corruption;
- Further strengthen PACJN to build the capacity of Pacific media to enhance its role to monitor and report on corruption and promote good governance;
- Increase investigative reporting including with analysis on how corruption impacts on women, youth and marginalised communities
- Increase media working with civil society to tackle corruption in the Pacific;
- Reaffirm media’s vital role in supporting informed public discussion, while also promoting the basic tenets of fairness, balance, truth and accuracy;
- Support partnerships that offer opportunities such as more content sharing across the network, improved coverage of events, and knowledge sharing; and
- Advocate for due exercise of the right to public information across the Pacific, and greater recognition of the right to personal privacy, including information on a person’s digital data and how it is used.