By Rowena Acraman

Fijian journalists have been embracing a more inclusive and unrestricted approach to journalism since the new Fiji government permitted media freedom.

The recent departure from draconian media laws has given opportunity to brave journalists to voice out their opinions to help with the betterment of the nation.

The launch of the Conflict Sensitive Reporting Manual took place at The University of the South Pacific (USP) on 08 August. This manual was created with financial support from the German NGO “Brot für die Welt” (Bread for the World).

Assistant Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, Sakiusa Tubuna addressing the launch highlighted his government role in fostering social cohesion and community collaboration.

He emphasised that the launch symbolised a remarkable coming together of media freedom and conflict resolution.

“Media freedom and freedom of expression is a major focus of the coalition government. Our journalists should feel free to report on events and stories,” he said.

Tubuna concluded that alongside media freedom and the right to free speech, there comes significant responsibilities that journalists must exercise diligently.

Head of USP Journalism, Dr Shailendra Singh explained the manual’s launch was a pioneering achievement unique to Fiji.

“It’s such an honour to be here as this is a first of its kind as book not only highlights the challenges but also the opportunities. This is why Dialogue Fiji’s actions are commendable,” Singh said.

“In my opinion, social cohesion is Fiji’s biggest challenge for the past 30 years; we are still struggling. Conflict reporting media can help mitigate social cohesion; media can report media according to context.”

Students, journalists, and members of the public that attended the launch received a copy of the reporting manual.