The region’s premier political body the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Secretariat and the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two regional organisation.

The signing between Forum Secretary General Henry Puna and PINA Vice-President Robert Iroga was held at the Forum Secretariat in Suva.

Forum Secretary General Henry Puna said the signing of the MOU was a significant milestone for both organisations.

“It is truly an MOU moment worth celebrating, as we renew a commitment to a journey which has helped set the standard for media partnerships not just in the Pacific, but globally,” he said.

He paid tribute to PINA’s founders, acknowledging their pioneering role in Pacific media.

“May I recognise the pioneering history of PINA’s founding leaders of Pacific media –at the same time the Forum was also convening as the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Cooperation, SPEC,” he said.

He expressed gratitude for PINA’s dedication in reporting the region’s stories.

He also reflected on his position as one in a line of Forum Secretary Generals who have worked alongside PINA.

“I know I am one of a line of Secretary Generals of the Forum who have been part of your reporting and that this MOU is a testament to our long vuvale history,” he said.

He emphasised the importance of the MOU in fulfilling the directive from Pacific leaders to communicate their decisions widely.

“This MOU represents the ongoing commitment we have to ensuring we deliver on the directive from our leaders to ensure their decisions and directions are communicated as widely as possible,” Puna said.

Addressing the challenges faced by modern communication, Puna reassured PINA of continued partnership.

“With the challenges of digital transformation, the ongoing rise of misinformation and fake news, and the security context of media and its watchdog role, let me reassure you of our continued partnership to help you deliver media integrity, excellence, accuracy, and voice for the people we both serve,” he said.

Puna also highlighted PINA’s importance in the Forum’s 2050 Implementation Plan.

“Our 2050 Implementation Plan is now underway and you are important partners in that work as we ensure our people, our voices, and our Pacific Way are at the centre of securing a future that delivers the best possible outcomes for all,” he emphasised. The speech encapsulated the shared commitment to effective communication and media excellence in the Pacific region.

PINA Vice-President Robert Iroga addressed the gathering at the signing of the PINA-PIF MOU, representing President Kora Nou, who was unable to attend due to work commitments in Papua New Guinea.

“I am honoured to be here today as the Vice-President of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA), representing our President, Kora Nou, who unfortunately couldn’t be here due to work commitments in Papua New Guinea”.

He conveyed President Nou’s best wishes and commended dedication to fostering a strong relationship with the Pacific media.

“PINA commends you Sir for your dedication to promoting a strong relationship with the Pacific media since assuming office.

“This MOU embeds another new chapter following almost two decades collaboration between the Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific media, aimed at effectively communicating the regional agenda set forth by our Pacific Leaders. PINA has valued the partnership of your high office and especially through the channels we have established to link to your management, and to our forum leaders and ministers”

He thanked the Secretary General for initiatives enabling quality reporting and awareness of the Pacific Way’s geopolitics.

Iroga pledged PINA’s commitment to promoting the Leaders’ Vision within the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy.

“We remain committed to working hand in hand with the PIF, utilising our media platforms to promote the implementation of the Leaders Vision within the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy, and ask that you continue to strive to secure our participation as independent news leaders doing our best to convey our Pacific voices from the global spaces where our flags are flying”.

The new MOU covers ongoing collaboration and partnership through technical advice, training initiatives for journalists at regional ministerial meetings, the annual Pacific Leaders meeting, and, when possible, media internships or fellowships.

“This is a significant milestone for PINA as we confirm our revised MOU with the Pacific Islands Forum the premier political body in the Pacific, through your Secretariat. We would like to acknowledge and thank you, Sir, for actively participating in major regional media events, including our PINA Pacific Media Summits and CEO conferences and for championing Teieniwa, access to information, and the freedom of the media to report without fear and favour, throughout your term.

As SG Puna prepares to leave office, Iroga extended appreciation for championing access to information and freedom of the media throughout his term.

“We express our sincere appreciation for recognising the vital role of the media in implementing regional priorities and for prioritising media engagement during your term. PINA and the entire regional media family wish you and your family all the best in your future endeavours,” said Iroga.