11 Jan 2017

Renewed push for Pacific media ombudsman

12:53 pm on 11 January 2017

Private donors and charities are being asked to help fund a Pacific media ombudsman to scrutinise media freedom and ethics in the region.

Pacific media interview a political leader

Pacific media interview a political leader, French Polynesia's Oscar Temaru Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

The Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) has renewed its push for such an advocate first mooted by the watchdog more than three years ago.

The group has registered with the crowdfunding organisation Global Giving for donations to fund the ombudsman and a secretariat for the Forum which is currently run by volunteers.

The PFF's Jason Brown said it's hoped the ombudsman would improve media ethics and access to information.

"We see the position as being more about public pressure which we saw earlier (last) year with the case in Samoa over a suicide at a church hall," he said.

"Three and a half thousand people signed a petition against newspaper coverage and that had very real results. But members of the public don't always have the time to get into the nitty and gritty and the rights and wrongs of each story."

The Samoa Observer newspaper stirred public outrage when it published a graphic photo of the scene of a suicide on its front page in June last year.

The newspaper later apologised for making a "sad mistake".

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