Tuesday, 5 May 2009 1:16 PM

Response to J. Foster from UPNG (Port Moresby) on Governor General's Post

I write in respond to J. Foster from UPNG (Port Moresby) who claimed in Solomon Star's Letters Column, Issue 3926 of Tuesday 5th May that J. Lofon was a staff of Island Sun.

J. Lofon's letter in our Speak Up Column titled 'Governor General's Post' was published in Island Sun Newspaper on Monday 4th May.

Firstly, I thanked J. Foster for keeping up to date with happenings at home, despite Island Sun not going online. Perhaps he/she must have read or heard J. Lofon's letter through email, fax or phone from Honiara. I was wondering how fast he/she could reply only few hours after the letter was published in Island Sun. But thankfully, our world is so small, so what is published today in Honiara can be heard or read all over the world in seconds.

Secondly, J. Lofon is not a staff of Island Sun as J. Foster claimed. It would be unethical for us in the media to do so. We will not allow our newspaper to be used for influencing government's choice for wannabe GGs, as some papers openly do.
I was in Island Sun office on Thursday last week when the writer dropped the letter to one of our senior staff and was to be published on Friday 1st May.

When my colleague finally gave me the letter, I found out that the writer (which I knew by name) would be using a pen name, which was J. Lofon. That is fine with us in the media as long as we know who the person is and we respect him/her by not revealing the author's identity.

The letter was not published on Friday as our Speak Up Column was already filled then but instead on Monday 4th May.

I've heard the letter was creating a lot of fuss and discussion amongst our readers. I also thanked J. Foster for reacting to the letter and I guess J. Lofon is smiling and satisfied for contributing to the issue.

Thirdly we (Island Sun) knew that Sir Ellison Pogo is no longer CNURA's choice of GG but someone else, which we also know, but will be letting our readers know in due course.

Therefore to claim this paper is making personal attacks and hatred is totally out of our ethical responsibility as a medium to foster discussion, debates, opinions and rights of people to express themselves freely without fear or favor.

This had been the essence of media freedom and cornerstone of democracy which the local media and journalists the world over was honoring this week.

"It means freedom to express yourself on issues of common interests, freedom to give constructive criticisms, free to say what you think of your government, church or polices," according to MASI President John Lamani in his Media Freedom Day statement over the weekend.

But media freedom comes with responsibility and it was good J. Foster bought it to the limelight. Unfortunately his/her assertion was misguided.

Thank You,

Mr. Priestley Habru
Editor
Island Sun

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Mr. Priestley Habru and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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