PRIME Minister (PM) Manasseh Sogavare is again calling on the local media to be responsible.
He issued the call after he moved the sine-die motion in the parliament yesterday.
“Mr. Speaker Sir in my last sine-die speech I call on the media to be responsible and I want to reiterate this call again because they don’t change,” he told the parliament.
“Yes, we need a very strong media but he stressed that it must be fair and responsible.
“A strong and fair media is an essential ingredient for a strong and vibrant democracy,” Sogavare stressed.
But he said in most cases it is the media that sets the agenda for public discussion and the public consumes what the media feeds them.
He also said that the media have great power to influence how the public perceives and understands issues.
Sogavare further quoted Malcolm X’s statement on media.
“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent.”
“And that’s powerful because they control the minds of the masses,” Sogavare quoted.
But he said today the news that comes out he does not know where did it come from.
“See in today’s (yesterday) newspaper they said China influence the closure of Facebook, I mean where does this comes from,” he said in parliament.
He added the local media today likes to put big bold headlines in front of their papers but when the government responds the media will hide the response somewhere inside the newspaper so that people don’t see the response.
“This is very smart, I mean this is media techniques to say they only worry about what they want to put out to the people but not the government responses.
“Sometimes they said they forgot to print the responses and promise to print it the next day but when you search for any government response in the paper it will appear somewhere near the sports pages,” Sogavare said in a cynical tone.
He further stressed that local media must be very responsible when disseminating information to the public.
“You just cannot dish out half-truth information because our people deserve more than that.
“You ought to build the nation and influence the people to respect each other in our nation,” Sogavare said as a challenge to the media in the country.
By ANDREW FANASIA