Forum SG Henry Puna Virtual Keynote address to Pacific Media Summit 2022

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High Level Panel “The Media and Political Leadership in a Digital Age”

To the PINA President Kora Nou of Papua New Guinea and your Secretariat, your board members across the region, and national member associations.

To the Media Association blo Solomon Islands President Georgina Kekea and your host country delegation– and of course, all your volunteers and friends of media in the Hapi Isles–Ni sa bula, Kia Orana and Halo olgeta wantoks lo PINA Pacific Media Summit.

May I especially commend the efforts of your Secretariat manager Makereta Komai for her ongoing commitment and support for regional excellence and networking as the face of PINA.

The Pacific media family across all our Forum Member countries is a cadre of leadership and long-time journalists who are no doubt well known to many of our leaders through your work.

I know in my former role I have met many of you, and certainly as Secretary General, I do appreciate the benefits of your work to communicating the values of the Pacific Way.

I also want to commend a well-known face to you all– Kia Orana Johnson Honimae– who served as Forum Media Advisor when I hosted the Forum Leaders meeting in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

It’s good to see you are continuing your service to the region Johnson, through your leadership back at the helm of SIBC especially as it marks a milestone 70 years in 2022.

May I also commend all those who partnered with workshops supporting the theme for this Summit.

The digital revolution you have all been discussing in your pre-summit groups this week has surely generated some great recommendations.

I am glad to see there are sessions around anti-corruption, cyber security and factchecking. These are important skills and in fact only this week, we’ve seen this highlighted with a spam campaign coming to our attention. Thank you to those journalists who checked in with us on the matter. We are as concerned as you are, when fake emails come in from accounts claiming to represent your news organisations. We want to support your factchecking, noting those who choose not to check claims and sources are red flags for your industry and the media integrity your leaders have fought so hard to maintain. Beyond industry standards, may I commend the role so many of you have taken up, rising to the challenge of COVID 19 education, information, and awareness as you put public interest and lives at the top of your news agenda. Thank you.

Friends, this is going to be the shortest keynote ever– for a couple of reasons– Firstly– there is a panel line-up in front of you who bring generations of Pacific truth, experience and lessons into the room and I respect and acknowledge their presence and passion for the issues you will discuss in coming days.

Secondly, I feel like I have come full circle. The last time I spoke to this group it was also virtually, and a hybrid event, based in the Solomon Islands. We spoke about a declaration that investigative journalists know well– The Teieniwa Vision for regional action supporting integrity, for a region free of corruptive influence. I remember telling you about how reporting integrity and anti-corruption work being a long goal.

Well, thanks to climate change, the pandemic, and yes, the digital age, time is becoming one of the most precious commodities we have.

I urge you to recall and share the challenges I issued you with during that Teieniwa discussion in 2021, to do the self-check required for the investigative journey. Take the lessons of regional solidarity from all you have reported on the Forum and other regional bodies—I know many of you have much to teach us about regional solidarity through your experiences, both positive and challenging, of regional media solidarity. Celebrate what is working in the regional media family, just as the Forum Leaders did.

And get on with it.

Our Forum Leaders are doing just that, with the strategy they launched globally in New York this week–off the back of the Suva debut which some of you may have attended. The 2050 Strategy for our Blue Pacific is the roadmap to our shared future. It’s the result of a few years of discussion and consultation across the region involving thousands of people. One strategy. Seven thematic areas. Ten political commitments.

I urge you to google #pacific2050 and download your copy to your device.

I can promise you that everything you share and discuss at this PINA summit is in some way going to be captured or connected to the Strategy. Because media are a core part of making it move. And the work of regionalism is something you already deliver, especially through summits such as these.

Friends, wantoks, I look forward to continuing those 2050 conversations with you for our shared Pacific future –and wish you all the best for a game-changing Pacific Media summit 2022.

SOURCE: PIFS/PACNEWS