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EDITORIAL: Journalists Play An Important Role In National Development

Thomas Jefferson, an American founding father, principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the third US president said once: “Were it left to me to decide whether
02 May 2015 09:54
EDITORIAL: Journalists Play An Important Role In National Development

Thomas Jefferson, an American founding father, principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the third US president said once: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

He underscored the importance of the role of the media in society.

The media acts as a public watchdog.

As we celebrate World Press Freedom Day tomorrow we are reminded again of the work that journalists do throughout the world.

We especially remember those who die in the line of duty and others who work under extremely difficult circumstances in the search for truth.

The international theme for this year is: Let Journalism Thrive! Towards better reporting, gender equality and media safety in the digital age.

World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, May 3, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day. UNESCO says it is an opportunity to:

– celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom;

– assess the state of press freedom throughout the world;

– defend the media from attacks on their independence;

– pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

UNESCO is focusing on three themes for World Press Freedom Day this year:

– The need for “quality journalism” – reporting that is accurate and independent, remains a constant concern in a media landscape that is changing due to technological and commercial developments.

– Gender imbalance continues in the media 20 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Change. All too few women journalists are able to reach decision-making positions in the media.

– The third theme is  digital safety, a topic of growing concern because digital communications makes it difficult for journalists to protect themselves and their sources.

In Fiji, journalists have come a long way since the first military coup in 1987. Today, Fijian journalists are free to practise their profession. They play an important part in national development in ensuring that people are accurately informed.

From the people in the remotest part of the country to business and Government leaders news is valuable information. It helps them to make well-informed decisions.

In pursuit of accuracy, fairness and balance, journalists will go to great lengths to talk to people in authority on issues of public interests. For this reason it is hoped that they are understood and officials, particularly those who hold public offices, recognise the work journalists do. Quality journalism will happen if journalists are given the opportunity to access information that is important for the people.

On this World Press Freedom Day, we invite those in positions of leadership both in the private and public sector to open up to the media. It will make this year’s celebrations more meaningful.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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