Foreign miners are digging deep into our land while local journalists are not digging enough stories says an environmental activist.
PNG’s mine watch organization ‘Bismarck Ramu Group’ networking coordinator Rosa Koian during an exclusive interview last week urged journalists in Solomon Islands to actively participate and acquire know-how basis about mining operations.
Concentration of mining activities in our country decades ago somehow beckoned a set of specified skills needed by communication officers.
Mrs Koian cautioned that mining companies are very manipulative with their agendas whereby the government and indigenous people need to understand, aware and remain informative about likely adverse impacts of such activities at the start”.
“Reporting on mining activities can either promote a company’s agenda or blighted their face value in the country.”
Thus it is obvious and highlights reporting skills foreplay at this stage, she said.
She revealed the weakness about many journalists today is that they represent what is on the surface and sometimes failed to analyze and listen to the underlying messages.
“Journalists need to investigate further about what they see in general news streams.
“Journalists can shape how a country grows. Mining offers a big opportunity for reporters. If journalists remain critical, substantive and independent they can help leaders see gaps in policy making,” said Koian.
Koian who has been been to the country several times spoke in light that as a neighbors and leading activist group in the region in reference to the first ever experimental seabed mining or Deep Sea Mining (DSM) in our waters.
“This is a new frontier for reporters. That means a lot of information digging is required before an article is submitted to the editor for publishing.”
Interestingly a few opportunist’s foreign investors such as Nautilus Mineral Inc are continually pushing for licensing and exploration in our region waters for mineral deposits. Nautilus has their first exploration project Solwara 1 in the Bismarck Seas of PNG.
Nautilus has secured or is in the process of applying for exploration rights to 534,000kms2 of the sea floor in PNG, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji.
As understood South Pacific Applied Geo-Science (SOPAC) a body that protects our waters seems to be shifting in its own interest paving way for good grounds of investment instead of providing information.
Such campaign has been put into practical like the Pacific Conference of Churches 10th General Assembly held on March 2013 in Honiara whereby a resolution to stop South Pacific DSM was passed.
Solomon Islands is considering and somehow seems to focus on mining activities with hopes of economic robust however time for government policies, researches, information and views from academics and landlords is needed.
By TEDDY KAFO
DIVINE WORD UNIVERSITY