THE Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) is embarking on a scoping study to strengthen the media industry.
MASI executives recently consulted with media editors, senior media practitioners and other relevant bodies to identify and develop concepts to protect the media industry and to develop mechanisms to hold journalists to an expected standard to account for their work.
MASI President, Georgina Kekea says the media industry in Solomon Islands is a growing one yet there is not a set standard code of practice for media practitioners nor does it have an establishment to ensure journalists and/or media organizations account for their publication.
“We have a MASI code of ethics that sets the benchmark for high professional standards that all media have a duty to maintain,” Kekea explained.
“However, without a clear pathway for its enforcement, this document lacks the teeth to bite,” she added.
Kekea says throughout the world, the principles of journalism remain the same but the onus is on individual media organizations to respect the fundamental principles of journalism.
“The media industry in Solomon Islands is vulnerable as there are no proper mechanisms in place to ensure journalists and media organizations account for the work that they do.
“The industry needs to be protected as it is susceptible to individuals and groups with wrong intentions.”
Kekea said Solomon Islands is a vibrant democratic country with so much freedom.
However, she said with such freedom, there also comes great responsibilities.
“A responsible media industry is what MASI stands for.
“We understand that information has the power to break or make a nation.
“We cannot sit back and allow our country to crumble before our eyes through misguided propagated news,” the MASI President said.
She says in addition to the scoping study, MASI is also undergoing a number of activities for its members.
“This includes research on the media business environment, a media cafe’ and a mass media campaign on the role of the media.
“The media campaign will start in August.”
MASI’s mission is to strengthen the media industry in Solomon Islands and the MASI Executive is keen in carrying out the mission as expected.
Data received from the study and research will guide the work of MASI and the media industry now and into the future.
“The Prime Minister is keen on bringing a Media Practitioner’s Bill to parliament in October and we are hoping the scoping study will assist us in finding the right mechanisms for us.
“The pathway for the media industry now lies in the results of the study.”
DFAT, Internews Network an international NGO supporting the work of media worldwide and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) are supporting MASI in these different activities.
“I would like to thank the different organizations for their support towards MASI in trying to strengthen the work of the media in Solomon Islands.
“All these activities are initiatives of the MASI Executive and we would like to thank the different organizations for seeing the need to support us in our endeavors.
“MASI will continue to do its best to ensure the media industry is well protected and that journalists are able to do their work in a robust industry. If not now, at least for our future generation,” the MASI President said.