The Transparency International Asia Pacific Regional Program organized the Pacific Media and Advocacy Workshop this week in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
The two-day workshop was held at the Grand Hotel with participants from TI Chapters’ across the Pacific including Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, and Vanuatu. The Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator based in the TI Secretariat in Berlin, Germany, was also present at the conference.
Facilitated by a communications expert Farid Farid from the Transparency International Secretariat Berlin, the workshop was designed to provide hands-on training for the media and communications officers within the Transparency International movement.
Farid says as a watchdog, TI Chapters need to communicate issues to the public via the media “because we want to encourage and see changes regarding corruption issues at a local level”.
“If you want to see a change, keep putting pressure on it, keep talking about it in the media using simple but powerful language,” Mr. Farid said.
Media has played a big role in how TI fights corruption. From Africa, Europe, Asia, the Pacific to South America TI Chapters have utilized the effectiveness of the media.
On the second day of the workshop, experienced pacific journalist Francis Herman, who is currently working as the Program Manager for PACMAS encouraged participants to be passionate about their role in presenting stories of corruption to the media.
If you want to spread your message to a wider audience,
“you have to be in their (media) face, don’t wait for the media to come to you,” Mr. Herman said.
He said there are many important and disturbing issues that are occurring in Vanuatu which are not getting the media attention they deserve, “that is the challenge for organizations like TI” he said.
The Media Workshop focused a lot on the links between national, regional and international news and the different impacts that they can deliver. Vanuatu, out of all the other pacific countries, has experienced little political will for change by government officials, although, many media outlets, including TIV, have been subject to assaults and threats from officials regarding critical news articles or broadcasts, the media must continue to keep corruption issues in the spotlight,
The Workshop also looked at the many ways of disseminating information to the public including print, radio and on-line. The different ways to engage with the audience were also explored; it was highlighted that it is always important for the media to bring corruption issues to the public’s attention in a way that they can relate to.At the end of the workshop the team discussed media plans for each TI Pacific Chapter to work on to help them achieve their communication goals. Including the need to create and strengthen ties with national, regional and international media outlets.
Stories by Transparency International Chapters have been taken by small and big media companies including The Guardian (UK) and The Washington Post (USA).
Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) has been advocating a lot through the media, by radio, by social media and in print. There are still challenges within the media industry itself that needs to be addressed in order for media in Vanuatu to be as effective as it can get, but until then TIV will continue to use the media as a weapon against corruption.