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Prime Minister of Tonga opens 5th Pacific Media Summit

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09th May 2018 The Prime Minister of Tonga Hon. Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva opened the 5th Pacific Media Summit under the Theme “Empowering the Media for Digital Challenges” at Kalofiama ‘o Epworth Hall, Nuku’alofa yesterday evening.

More than 70 participants from media professionals, academics, development partners, technical experts, young journalists attended the summit from the Pacific, including China, United States, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The week-long conference will explore opportunities and challenges for the media in a digitally empowered society.

Many Pacific Island countries have embarked on ambitious ICT targets in the hope that it will facilitate growth and transform citizens into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

Most of these targets and strategies are centered on making available digital infrastructure, providing governance and services on demand and digital empowerment of citizens.

Hon. Pohiva said the Government of Tonga is committed to the Freedom of the Media, even in a digitized world.

“Freedom of the Media had in fact been entrenched in our constitution since 1875 that is 143 years ago. This freedom of course does not come without responsibilities. Those responsibilities include: not to defame your neighbour, not to violate the official secrets act and to not to violate laws for the protection of the King and the Royal Family.”

“The 5th Pacific Media Summit will explore opportunities and challenges that the media in the Pacific are facing in a digitized world. And you have invited people with special expertise to help you in that exploration.”

President of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Mr. Moses Stevens said, “PINA has continued to reflect the true spirit of our ancestors, who have confidently stood tall and strong against the different forces and challenges of our vast Pacific Ocean, and even the ever growing influences and foreign and stronger developed societies.”

“Our presence here in Nuku’alofa, and my standing here before you once again after our last meeting two years ago, is a strong representation of the resilient strength that is inserted in the biological structure of the Pacific Islander by the Almighty God, when He decided to create “Man” in His own Image in the beginning.”

Global Digital Activist from Indonesia Ms. Dhyta Caturani said that the internet has an unlimited possibilities and power.

“Before internet information travels in different ways, people, journalist and the media. But now the internet that we use has changed, millions of people now have connected to the internet and billions of data have been published.”

She noted that the internet makes the words of a journalist travel far and those words will educate people in another part of the world.

Minister for MEIDECC Hon. Poasi Mataele Tei in his welcoming remarks stated that theme is timely in this age of modern technology.

“Journalists need to understand these perceived threats and at the same time know how to protect them from these perceived threats. The importance of ensuring that facet always stands out is paramount. We must not lose our credibility and ensure that we remain partial, factual and unbiased.”

He told the participants that they should take this opportunity to learn as much as they can from the presentations and develop their skills to be better journalists.


Issued by the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications


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