Fiji’s Ministry of Information permanent secretary Sharon Smith Johns criticized foreign journalists for failing to follow ethical standards of “accuracy and balance” the Jet newspaper reported. According to the Jet, Smith Johns explained that foreign media outlets’ journalists often will “disregard what is truly happening around the Pacific and in particular in Fiji shows a total disrespect for the Pacific media, the people of the Pacific and the hard work undertaken to move towards democratic societies.”
Smith Johns also noted issues in the media including “partisan agendas, cultural insensitivity, and deliberate distortions in media reporting,” according to a report on the Pacific Island News Association’s website. Her comments were made in context with the week-long Pacific Islands News Association Summit.
PINA identifies itself as ” the premier regional organisation representing the interests of media professionals in the Pacific region” for 23 islands across all media outlets. According to its website, the group works on behalf of “freedom of expression and information,” maintaining standards, and more.
According to Radio Australia News and Australia Network News, the Pacific Islands News Association is the “region’s main media body” and this is its second summit. According to the Fiji Times, “more than 100 journalists from around the region” are scheduled to attend the summit, which starts March 27.
And, the group’s “management refused to speak out about the censorship” in Fiji, according to the Solomon Star News.
The summit will include workshops on “anti-corruption, sports, climate change, millennium development goals and non-communicable diseases,” according to the Fiji Times.
We have written to PINA’s Moses Stevens for further comment and will update with any response.