22 Apr 2008

Government interference a key obstacle in Pacific media, says observer

3:22 pm on 22 April 2008

A British freelance journalist who attended the recent Pacific Media and Human Rights Summit in Samoa says the main challenge for journalists in the Pacific is government interference.

Alex Kirby, a former correspondent for the BBC, was at the summit in Apia.

He says what he found from speaking with Pacific journalists was that governments are unwilling to allow journalists to do their job.

"I don't think there is a culture there in many countries of governments saying, we actually need a free independent media sector because that is one thing that's essential to making democracy work. I think they think journalists are a damn nuisance. Well, if we're doing our jobs, we are but that we ought to be allowed to for the sake of the people that the governments are governing."

Alex Kirby says other challenges for journalists are the lack of internet access, and the lack of understanding of issues like climate change.