Tuesday, December 14, 2010

[pima.nius] USP hosts successful symposium on ‘role of media and civil society'

10:30 AM |

USP hosts successful symposium on 'role of media and civil society'



USP's Dr Desmond Amosa (from left), Dr Levi Obijiofor from the University of Queensland; Kalafi Moala of the Taimi Media Network; Dr David Robie of AUT's Pacific Media Centre and convenor Shailendra Singh, also of USP. Photo: USP

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Item: 7167

A one-day symposium on the "Role of media and civil society in strengthening democracy and social cohesion'"has been held successfully at the University of the South Pacific's Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji.

Convened by the head of journalism at USP, Shailendra Singh, and senior lecturer in management, Dr Desmond Amosa, the symposium on December 10 was co-sponsored by USP's faculties of Arts and Law (FAL) and Business and Economics (FBE).

It was supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Suva.

Keynote speakers included associate professor and director of the Pacific Media Centre at the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, Dr David Robie; publisher and chief executive of Tonga's Taimi Media Network, Kalafi Moala; and senior lecturer in journalism and communications at the University of Queensland, Dr Levi Obijiofor.

Singh said the symposium was very successful. He said the speakers had made a significant contribution to intellectual life at USP while bringing to public attention an issue that is very critical for the well-being of the region.

In opening the symposium, the dean of FAL, Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, said the media was a powerful tool in terms of informing, educating and transforming societies.

She said that the symposium aimed to discuss how media could further empower people and civil society so as to transform societies.

The chief guest and UNDP resident representative, Knut Ostby, elaborated further on the roles of media in providing information, protecting important ideals and giving voice to the people.

He said the media informs people about significant issues affecting their social, economic and political environments.

He highlighted that the media creates a platform for public debate and this enables a diversity of views to be heard on issues of common concern.

Ostby added that the media has become "more interactive, dynamic and participatory" and has defined a role for itself as a more active player in shaping our societies.

He emphasised that the dual roles of the media - to speak to the public and to speak on behalf of the public - has remained the same.

On conflict prevention and peacekeeping, Ostby said that media "can promote and mobilise public support for peace building. It can promote positive relationships within groups". - University of the South Pacific/Pacific Media Watch

Kalafi Moala's full paper

Dr Obijiofor and Dr Robie's papers are being published in the Journal of Pacific Studies due out this month.

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