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By Vasemaca Rarabici

NADI, Fiji Islands (November 18, 1999 – Fiji’s Daily Post/Pacific Media Watch/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---More Pacific male journalists need to be sensitized on sexual and reproductive health.

This was heard from various journalists from around the South Pacific at a regional media seminar organized by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), which opened yesterday.

Makereta Komai, of the regional news exchange PACNEWS, said there was a need to train male journalists because when it came to reporting on sexual and reproductive health issues women were often given the task of doing it.

"There is this notion that such assignments are 'women' assignments and we have to do it," Ms. Komai said.

"We need to sensitize men to do the task because who will do it if we women are not around?"

Echoing her sentiments were Radio FM96 newsreader Luisa Tora of Fiji and Brenda Hedley of Radio Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia, who said such sensitive issues could not be a personal issue for each reporter.

Every reporter should report on it.

"They should not give the assignment to me just because it's a field that I work in closely. What if I am not around, then who will do it?" Ms. Tora asked.

"This will only mean no one will report on the issue."

It was also heard that in Pacific countries little was being done to inform people about sensitive issues through the media.

And if it was written about, it was either damaging or written to cause harm.

"Newspapers often write stories to attract the attention of the reader. They rarely report on sensitive issues, but if they do they always look at the harm it has done instead of ways it could be prevented or the risks," said SPC communications specialist Nancy Atkins.

"Most stories focus on statistics but the important thing is to mobilize the information so that the public becomes aware of the risks they are putting themselves in."

It was highlighted that journalists and other media personnel could be used as technical resources by the Government and non-government organizations in population advocacy activities.

Title -- 2454 REGION: Pacific male reporters told to be more sensitive Date -- 18 November 1999 Byline -- Vasemaca Rarabici Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- Fiji's Daily Post, 18/11/99 Copyright – DP Status – Unabridged

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