More training and development for the region's journalists would better protect the media and improve transparency in the region, a Pacific journalism educator says.
Shailendra Singh, co-ordinator of the University of the South Pacific's journalism programme, said university scholarships for journalists were scarce and training opportunities were far behind other parts of the world.
The media became an easier target if it commited too many professional fouls which had to be avoided, Dr Singh said.
"Media lose public support and the government is emboldened to tighten the noose and you can see this trend in the Pacific - governments complaining about professional breaches by the media then threatening to implement or already implementing harsher laws."
The lack of homegrown research into the media landscape was also a major gap in the Pacific region, he said.
There were very few local post-graduate candidates in journalism and most research into the local media landscape was done by outsiders, according to Dr Singh.
"The research is so important to look into the nature and health of journalism in the Pacific region.
"There is not much consistent research in Pacific media to begin with, moreover it's the same people doing the research so the different perspectives are lacking."
Dr Singh said scholars from outside the region provided a valuable perspective but it was crucial local people were also supported with scholarships to undertake such studies.