12 January 2018
(Left to Right) MASI Executive Member Ben Bilua,MASI Treasurer Uriel Matanani, The Honorable Prime Minister Rick Hou, MASI President Deli Oso and MASI CEO Hilda Lamani. [Photo: Alex Akwai/PMO]

The Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) has welcomed the assurance by Prime Minister Hon Rick Hou to continue the Prime Minister’s Media Excellence Award introduced by his predecessor.

MASI President Deli Oso said the association welcomes and acknowledges Prime Minister Hou’s assurance.

Mrs Oso said she and Members of the MASI Executive along with the CEO of the MASI Secretariat Ms Hilda Lamani on Thursday paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister as patron of MASI to welcome him following his successful election as Prime Minister and to enlighten him about developments within the local media industry.

“MASI welcomes and acknowledges Prime Minister Hou’s assurance to continue the Prime Minister’s Media Excellence Award introduced in 2016 by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare with the intention of developing the capacity of local journalists to professionally carry out their jobs.

“The assurance demonstrates Prime Minister Hou’s recognition of the important role that the media plays a crucial role in advancing democratic causes in the country and MASI looks forward to closely working with him in its efforts to develop the media industry.”

Mrs Oso said the MASI Executive has nominated Mr Ben Bilua of Island Sun Newspaper for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Media Excellence Award and looks forward for the successful facilitation of this nomination by relevant government officials in due course.

She said the recipients for 2016 Charley Piringi of Solomon Star and 2017 Gina Maka’a of SIBC are undertaking their journalism studies at the Divine Word University in Papua New Guinea and MASI is pleased with their academic performance so far and MASI looks forward to receive similar positive feedbacks about Mr Bilua’s academic performance. Mr Bilua has secured a study placement with the University of the South Pacific Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji.

The MASI President said in the courtesy meeting, Prime Minister Rick Hou has expressed support for MASI’s plan to work with him as its patron to introduce a Media Practitioners’ Law not only to protect media freedom but to also empower the association to discipline journalists and media practitioners who breach the MASI media code of ethics.

“MASI also welcomes the Prime Minister’s expression of support for this very important initiative. As rightly expressed by the Prime Minister during the courtesy meeting, this will be a heavy undertaking but through determination and greater collaboration between MASI and the government, it can be achieved,” Mrs Oso said.

Mrs Oso said the introduction of a Media Practitioners Law is a crucial way forward in ensuring utmost professionalism in the local media industry.

Prime Minister Rick Hou was presented copies of the MASI Constitution, Corporate Plan and Media Code of Ethics by the CEO of the MASI Secretariat.