Members of Palau Media Council wrapped up the year 2019, looking at highlights and challenges, and gearing for 2020.

Moses Uludong, owner of Tia Belau Newspaper and President of the Palau Media Council cited challenges media faced in 2019, particularly the difficulty in accessing information from the government.

Radio owner and talk show host Salvador Tellames echoed Mr. Uludong’s concern saying that the Media Council should take a direct approach by challenging responses to inquiries using the Information Act.  “Media has tools available to it, it is up to us to use them such as the Information Act,” stressed Mr. Tellames.

Role of media in Palau society, the challenges of limited reporting capacity, need to foster journalism interests in young people were common threads of challenges Palau Media Council seeks to address into 2020.

“Starting February, grant aid from Government of Australia will fund a media focused training on economic reporting and United Nations Anti-Corruption  Program will be conducting anti-corruption training to journalists here in Palau. These grants are approved for Palau Media Council, focused on improving our skills,” reported Bernadette Carreon of Pacific Notes.

Former street lawyer and citizen reporter Sebastian Andreas noted the challenge traditional media is facing today, the movement toward online news or internet media. “In many countries, traditional newspaper is being replaced by internet news and I see this happening to Palau in the near future,” predicted Mr. Andreas.

Olkeriil Kazuo, Press Secretary of the President of the Republic and former OTV broadcaster, said that the last 7 years have been challenging for him, especially working for the government as direct contact with private media.  He had sought to be as responsive as possible with private media, particularly as a young person with the desire and drive for what media does.

Publisher for Island Times, Leilani Reklai, said that despite ongoing media challenges, she had seen change since the Media Council was formed.  She believed that there is a bright future for Palau media based on the growing desire and awareness demonstrated by the younger Palauan generation.

Other contributors at the Palau Media Council 2019 year-end meeting were guest writer for Tia Belau and active Palau social media contributor Santy Asanuma and retired University of Guam TRIO Program Director Yoichi Rengiil.

Palau Media Council, which is made up of people from various media fields in Palau such as print, radio, television and online media, was formed three years ago to promote greater media coverage and media freedom in Palau.