MEDIA workers marked World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday night in Honiara – three weeks after the official designated day on May 3.
The celebrations may have come a bit late, but it was worth the time and money spent to mark the occasion at the Honiara Hotel.
Media workers across the world celebrated this year’s event under the theme “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality & Media Safety in the Digital Age”.
The theme calls for journalists to be proactive and exercise responsibility when performing their duties.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare graced the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) organised event with his presence, on Wednesday.
And he used the occasion to call on media workers to be responsible in their reporting.
The reminder could not have come at a better time.
Today’s media workers face numerous challenges.
The advent of social media such as facebook, twitter, and other forms of internet communication has dramatically changed the way traditional media operates.
Lack of training for local media workers also poses a major challenge for the industry. This has had a negative impact on the way the news is presented for public consumption.
Be that as it may, the best news of the night was Mr Sogavare’s announcement that the government will introduce a Media Excellence Award for potential journalists.
This is being packaged in the form of a scholarship award, which will be awarded to young reporters who demonstrated excellence in their craft.
Details of this award, according to the prime minister, are being worked on and will be disclosed later in the year.
This is welcomed news for the media fraternity.
Often journalism and other media studies are not given priority when it comes to scholarship allocations.
This has left many young people with an interest to pursue a career in the media to either look for other opportunities, or simply entered the job market without a qualification.
As a media company and industry leader, the Solomon Star welcomes Mr Sogavare’s scholarship offer with open arms.
We believe this should have been done a long time ago by previous governments to ensure a steady stream of journalism graduates enter the workforce after every three years.
With the offer at hand, the onus now is on our young, potential, and upcoming cadets currently working within our various media organisations to prove their worth.
This is not an award for those who sit behind their computers and wait for press releases.
Rather, it’s an opportunity for those who wanted to make a difference in our media industry.
This is our chance!