The Marshall Islands’ capital, Majuro, will host a first-of-its-kind Pacific summit on communications and democracy next February.
Conference organiser, the Pacific Media Institute (PMI), states the summit will bring together the nation’s political and government leadership, national media executives, students at College of the Marshall Islands and the Majuro campus of the University of the South Pacific, and senior journalists from across the Pacific.
The Republic of China (Taiwan) Embassy has donated US$20,000 in a show of support for the summit. Last week, Taiwan Ambassador Steve C.C. Hsia presented the funding to Pacific Media Institute representatives at the office of President David Kabua who, together with Parliament Speaker Kenneth Kedi, has endorsed the Summit.
“We greatly appreciate the ROC/Taiwan’s strong support of democracy and its willingness to commit funding in support of the success of the next year’s Summit on Democracy,” said PMI representative and Marshall Islands Journal editor Giff Johnson. “This is the first media freedom advocacy initiative of its kind in the Marshall Islands.” The Pacific Media Institute launched Project Democracy this year, a multi-event program to encourage voting and active political debate.
“Our Constitution’s Bill of Rights enshrines media freedom and freedom of expression,” said President Kabua. “These are important rights for all of us to enjoy and protect. Because of this, I am happy to lend my support to Pacific Media Institute for the Summit on Democracy with government leaders and representatives of the media in early 2023. Greater understanding and appreciation of these important issues is fundamental to sustaining our Democracy”.
PMI adds the summit will focus on the role a free press plays in strengthening democracy in the Pacific Islands. The summit’s tentative program includes a vigorous discussion on democracy and the news media with elected national leaders, breakout sessions on challenges facing the news media in the Marshall Islands; and workshops for government and NGO public information officers and students.