Marking World Press Freedom Day 2021, the Pacific Anti-Corruption Journalists Network (PACJN) has called for a regional Pacific commitment to boost media freedom and help increase reporting on activities at risk of corruption.
PACJN coordinator, Mr. Samisoni Pareti, welcomed the focus on media freedom on 3 May and called for a greater focus on how to implement that freedom.
“Pacific journalists need stronger Right to Information legislation and whistleblower protection so their daily work can better target the diversion of state and private sector funds into corrupt hands,” said Mr Samisoni.
“Our journalists have worked hard to get governments to host more regular media conferences during the onset of COVID so not only misinformation, but real procurement problems can be addressed quickly.
“But journalists need to be able to rely on their own independent reporting, without fear or favour, not just media conferences,” said Mr. Pareti.
In 2021 PACJN is delivering a media strengthening project for anti-corruption journalists in Pacific Island Countries. PACJN training sessions so far have addressed Anti-Money Laundering, Whistleblowing, Public Reporting and Health Procurement.
PACJN’s media strengthening work is being delivered by the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA), which is supported by the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project, a joint initiative by UNODC and UNDP supported by the Australian Government and the New Zealand Aid Programme.