Monday, October 06, 2008

More Pasifika Media Collaboration


By Josephine Latu, Pacific Media Watch

AUCKLAND (PMW/AUT/Pacific Media Watch): Calls for more collaboration among Pasifika practitioners and a stronger “Pacific perspective” in the media are part of the buzz as the Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA) gears up for its annual conference at AUT University this Friday.

Kalafi Moala, publisher of the Taimi ‘o Tonga, says the future of Pacific Islands media depends on reform that will allow Islanders to tell their stories from their own perspective.

“So far our stories in media have been told for us by others who do not understand our socio-cultural environment and history, and present day reality,” says Moala.

Moala, a former chairman of PIMA, will be speaking as part of a panel on the future directions of Pasifika media at the conference.

He believes the future of Pacific Islands media lies in serving the public through multiple modes of communication, and a democratic “people-based” approach that is free from the constraints of having to follow a conventional perspective that may misrepresent Pacific experiences.

It also depends on organisations such as PIMA that link practitioners in a “sense of camaraderie”, and a united voice for issues such as press freedom and other Pacific concerns.

PIMA deputy chairman Chris Lakatani says that while Pasifika faces in mainstream media are vital to recognising Pacific Islanders in New Zealand, a “mathematical” representation does not automatically mean a stronger media role.

For Lakatani, the key issue is more cooperation among Pacific Island practitioners to share knowledge, including business tactics and administrative skills.

“As a business owner or journalist, we don’t often get to talk to one another about things like distribution channels,” he says.

PIMA’s role becomes central in bringing media workers together to share tips about specific strategies for media business or journalism practice.

“Sometimes we work in isolation, yet culturally we are a communal people. As practitioners, we can get a lot more when we get together and share,” he says.

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