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ABU conference tackles major media issues in Pacific

Delegates from 25 countries in the Pacific attended this year’s ABU Pacific Media Partnership Conference in Nadi, Fiji.

Organisers said the aim of the conference themed “Partnering for broadcast development” was to examine the broadcast needs of the Pacific and to build a sense of belongingness for PMPC. 

ABU Secretary-General Dr Javad Mottaghi moderated a session on Public Service Media and Broadcasting in Pacific Countries: Challenges and Opportunities, and six CEOs and senior executives from Pacific broadcasters presented their views as panellists.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) partnered the conference by supporting two full-day workshops. One addressed ICTs and gender issues and the other looked at the digitalisation plans of 10 pacific countries. Nine countries with experts from New Zealand, Australia and Philippines reported on progress in digitalisation.

Dr Amal Punchihewa, Director ABU Technology, chaired a number of sessions addressing ICTs and needs for clear implementation plans based on the road maps drawn up over the last few years.  He reiterated the commitment given by the ABU in the digitalisation process and said plans had already been drawn up to provide human capacity building in the Pacific starting in March 2015 in Tonga, followed by an August 2015 event in Samoa in conjunction with PMPC-2015.

Dr Mottaghi said: “This kind of gathering is an opportunity for broadcasters to discuss and exchange views and experiences and find solutions to localise them. I’m happy see that this conference is going well and it turns out to be a unique media gathering for the region, which the ABU will fully support.”

This is the fifth PMPC conference since 2010 in Tonga, which was followed by conferences in Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

US Ambassador Frankie Reed said there needed to be a variety of people in the media from all races. As a former journalist, the Ambassador said being a responsible, ethical journalist applied across print media, blog sites and television.

The Fijian Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Ms Rosy Akbar, said there was a huge issue of gender disproportion in the ICT sector that Pacific countries could not turn a blind eye to and there needed to be country commitments and action frameworks to change the tide. She said that in Fiji, in the field of ICTs women accounted for 23 per cent of senior management whereas men occupied more than 70 per cent of these positions.

Mr Ioane Koroivuki, of the ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, said that opening up options for women in ICTs was integral to any county’s development, given that women reinvested in their families and subsequently the economy.