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Address by Hon. ‘Eseta Fusitu’a, at the Pacific Media Partnership’s Regional Seminar

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27 August 2010

The Chairlady of the Pacific Media Partnership Committee, Mrs. Falesio Matafeo, who is also the Managing Director of the Samoan Quality Broadcasting Company. Our respects, to Mr. Marcel Gomez, the Programme Manager of the Asia Pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development, President Siaosi Moleni and Director of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission, to Miss Nanise Fifita, Acting General Manager of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission and my special respects also to all of the esteemed representatives of the Pacific information and media services who are here today. On behalf of the Government of Tonga, it is my privilege to welcome you all to the Kingdom of Tonga.

I also want to pay a special tribute ladies and gentlemen to the very high level and calibre of representation at this seminar. When I read the attendance list, I was most impressed by the extremely high level of representatives from the Information Management, the Media Operators' Representatives, and from the Universities, Geographically, I noticed that representations to this seminar go as far as Ireland, Germany and the Northern parts of Europe. And that tells me ladies and gentlemen that the mission to carry the voice of the Pacific is in the very best of hands, and I salute you all with the highest respect today.

I also want to extend our special tribute to Mr. .Gomez and the Asia Pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development. With what little background knowledge I have, Sir, I have learnt that your organization has been pivotal to the evolution and the advancement of broadcasting and news development in the region. And, I would be grateful if you could convey the official gratitude of the Government of Tonga and from the Tonga Broadcasting Commission to your organization, for your substantial contributions to our development.

At this point of time, I want to elaborate upon the uniqueness of the mission of this seminar. As you are all aware, this is a global world. Technology has turned us into a Global Village. It carries its enormous advantages, but one of its challenges is the survival of identity. That challenge is most frightening to small communities like ours. And in this Global Village today, to me the only way for us to go ladies and gentlemen, is what you have decided to do. And that is to come together, and to devise ways which facilitate the important task of making the Pacific's voice heard.

If you turn that mission and put it beside the development visions and programs of our Governments, they actually go hand in hand, because in our development visions and programs, identity is fundamental! And that is most encouraging to me ladies and gentlemen, your mission walks together with the missions of your Governments. As you deepen and elaborate upon the cornerstones of identity to the world that makes it easier for our Governments to ride on the same vehicles, and to enhance overseas assistance to our people. And it has to be the right vehicle, otherwise the assistance may be wasteful and may be damaging. I refer to one example about Tonga which I know applies to all of your societies. The most powerful force in Tonga is the family and I am sure it is also likewise with most of your societies.

That being the case, development programs which threaten knowingly or otherwise, the strength of families can be destructive, Now when you carry our voices, I am certain that the fundamental family principles would be woven into our Pacific voices that you carry to the rest of the world. For that reason, ladies and gentlemen, I think all of us in the Pacific are especially grateful to you for your visions today.

Finally, we come to the specific subject of this seminar, namely developing and facilitating vibrant media performance. I do not think you need me to elaborate very much, as to what is vibrant journalism? Ladies and Gentlemen, I just want to note two points about it.  Whether it's vibrant or lazy journalism or whatever it is, the accuracy of content is the key. I am an ex-teacher. I see some of my former students here, like Mr. Kalafi Moala.

And we all know ladies and gentlemen, when we write an essay, your marks depend on the quality and quantity of facts! The quantity and quality of your content. If the quantity and quality is defective I will give you zero for your essay! On the other hand, if the quantity and quality of your data is substantial, you'll get an A+. Ladies and gentlemen, the same yardstick applies to our public information and journalistic duties. And I am not telling you anything new!

In order to get my A in my essay, I have to do my homework ,  I have to do my research , So does a journalist.

When journalism does its proper homework and achieves good quality data and good quality interpretation, the whole nation is blessed with real knowledge. When it does not, we all feel the stresses from that.  So, to me ladies and gentlemen, I want to add these comments to what constitutes vibrant journalism.

The second part of what constitutes vibrant journalism is to do with the issue of bias and that's a very difficult one. Because often, we are not aware of it and forgive me, because you are the ones who know best what I am referring to. But perhaps, it is alright to remind ourselves, that bias can murder the best of facts!  Therefore, the best of facts have to walk hand in hand with the minimum bias. Of course we can not eliminate bias altogether, madam chairlady. So, whatever constitute vibrant journalism, may I make a special plea that the accuracy of facts and the taming of bias, continues to be central elements in what constitutes vibrant journalism.

Finally, ladies and gentlemen, at the end of the day, all are in the hands of our Master.  At the end of the day, all that go on in our thoughts and our hearts, and all that we do, are in the hands of our Heavenly Master. And perhaps, that is where we must ultimately turn and put our trust for enabling us to produce the best quality journalism, and the best quality voice of the Pacific.

With these few words, Ladies and Gentlemen, I humbly declare this Seminar open!!.

ENDS

Issued by the: Ministry of Informaton and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2010.

 

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