The 1st Pacific Media Partnership Forum was held successfully in Tonga on 20-27 August 2010. The event offered media practitioners in the region concepts and tools that will enhance capacity in various aspects of broadcasting critical in responding to the rapidly changing media landscape.
More than 50 media practitioners from 13 countries participated in six seminars and workshops covering convergent journalism, marketing and financial management, media’s role in natural disasters, public service broadcasting, media regulations and initiatives to build a vibrant broadcast industry in the region. The Tonga Broadcasting Commission hosted these activities in Nuku’alofa.
The Forum was a joint undertaking between AIBD and the Pacific Media Partnership Committee (PMPC) set up in July 2009 during the latter’s Annual General Conference in Fiji.
The convergent journalism workshop turned out to be very useful as the participants learned how to write online articles and use effectively multimedia in generating articles.
Their online articles were uploaded to the workshop-blog "Tonga Today.” By gaining experience in dealing with blog software, they saw their own works published on the Internet, which greatly increased their sense of achievement and motivation. The URL of the blog is http://tongatoday.tumblr.com, the password is: dwdwdw. An accompanying technical support blog (http://tongatodaytech.tumblr.com) was created for the participants. Mr Thorsten Karg, Project Manager from DW-AKADEMIE, who served as trainer also made available in this blog how-to articles and further reading materials.
Mr Mano Wikramanayake, Group Director of The Maharaja Organisation Limited, Sri Lanka, conducted the workshop on maximising income & controlling costs, which covered issues on generating various income streams other than the traditional advertising revenue and factors that influence income.
Participants learned how to develop a broadcast schedule for a whole year using a line-by-line method that incorporated costs and expected revenues and ratings. Defining vision, mission and objectives and key areas of planning were also discussed as well as ways to control costs through detailed budgeting of cash flows. One of the workshop’s outputs was the development of a business plan the participants prepared for a year.
Some 19 broadcasters participated in the workshop on harnessing radio to help citizens manage natural disasters. Covered in the two-day workshop were topics on the role of radio in an emergency management plan, skills necessary to cover natural disasters, how to avoid burnouts, and tips for interviewing victims and children.
Participants developed a natural disaster plan before, during and after a natural disaster and identified the obstacles their radio stations might face. Mr Anthony Frangi, Program Director, School of Journalism and Communication, The University of Queensland, Australia, served as the workshop consultant.
Public service broadcasting
The mix of participants from the Pacific Islands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom at the PSB seminar served to provide better perspectives on the merits of public service broadcasting (PSB) and generated a highly interactive discussion on what makes PSB successful.
Several resource persons made presentations on the various dimensions of PSB including media regulations and regulatory mechanisms, and examples of how they operate in various countries with such a model.
Many participants showed a lot of interest in the topics and suggested that such activity should be held more often in the region. Dr Venkat Iyer, Barrister and Law Academic at the School of Law University of Ulster at Jordanstown served as the lead consultant for this workshop.
Building a vibrant Pacific media
A highlight of the Forum was the regional seminar on building a vibrant Pacific media, which was attended by 53 decision makers and media professionals from 13 countries.
Sixteen speakers from the Pacific Islands, UK, Germany, Sri Lanka and Australia covered topics on media ethics and media freedom, content access for the Pacific audience, challenges and opportunities for media in the Pacific and journalism in the social media age.
Ms 'Eseta Fulivai Fusitu'a, Minister for Information and Communication, Kingdom of Tonga, spoke at the opening session, stressing that the Forum provided a special voice for the Pacific media. She thanked the Pacific Media Partnership Committee as well as partners and supporters for implementing this collaborative effort in the region.
Support for the Forum came from the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, UNESCO Apia Office, International Telecommunication Union, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, AIBD, ABU, Duetsche Welle Akademie and the host Tonga Broadcasting Commission.
The 2nd Pacific Media Partnership Forum hosted by EMTV will be held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in August 2011.