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‘Balance and fair reporting’ emphasized as influential during elections

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 12, 2012) – Lively discussions by journalists at a half-day workshop on "Public Service Journalism in an election period," helped shaped suggested plans on how to tackle some key challenges faced by the media.

The workshop, hosted by Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation (VBTC), focused on the crucial role of journalists to serve the public, and it deliberated on inadequacies of political coverage especially at times of heightened political pressure –during an election periods. From the stimulus discussions by working groups, journalists were able to draw up lists of journalistic tools to use including the local media code of ethics, to provide balance and fair reporting that can significantly impact on the democratic process and the way choices are made in the polling booths.

Drawing from local experiences in the past election coverage, participants highlighted various propaganda techniques commonly used by local politicians and ways to deal with it.

President of the Pacific Islands News Association Moses Stevens said he was moved by the presentations made at the workshop, adding that the workshop was another successful activity for Vanuatu's National Media Association after the landmark staging of the "Right to Know Day on 2 December in commemoration of the event of that same day in 2010 when the media and the general public were shut out from parliament when a change of government happened.

"I was so happy and moved by the well organized and well presented training workshop on 7 March 2012 at VBTC. The 30 participants reflect a great success and achievement by MAV," he said.

In his opening address, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia Pacific guest speaker at the workshop Alan Kennedy, emphasized the importance of responsible journalism in times of election period. He reminded journalist of their role as reporters serving the public interest and that this can be best achieved through thorough research, balance and fair reporting.

The workshop was funded by the International Federation of Journalists’ Pacific Branch and gathers together journalists and freelancers working in media organizations in Port Vila and Luganville as well as from Torba Province and included Year-2 journalist students from Vanuatu Institute of Technology (VIT).

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