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Pacific Environment Journalists Network launched in Nuku’alofa

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 08/05/2018

 

The Pacific Environment Journalists Network was formally launched yesterday aiming to increase the quality and quantity of environmental reporting in the Pacific. This program was initiated towards the end of the COP23 in Bonn, Germany, last year.

 

A senior journalist from The Fiji Times but also one of the founders of the PEJN – Lice Movono says, the network was created to include a collective of environmental writers from the pacific.

 

“I think the most important message that we wanted to give people is that the environment – it’s like all the other topics that we cover in the news in a sense that it’s urgent and it’s technical. And it has its own experts and there are ethics around the way it should be done. But it’s different from other things in that it’s about our livelihoods and our homes. There is no Planet B. As some of our leaders like to say: “We don’t look after our environment, we’re done.” And here in the Pacific – that concern is even higher. That concern affects every sector of life. It affects our health, our politics, our economics and in some of the countries like even here in Tonga like we saw yesterday during our discussions – it affects the way our people in the Pacific in the way they get to live – whether they live with dignity or not,” Monovo said.

 

Movono says this network aims to encourage environmental stories in the Pacific to be written from a Pacific Islander’s perspective.

 

“When the COP23 outcome was done at the end of the leader’s negotiations on Saturday morning, it included us. It included a PEJN which aims at increasing stories from the region about the Pacific. But most important part of that is stories from the Pacific written by Pacific islanders protecting the dignity of Pacific Island people.  Sometimes when our friends and colleagues from the West come to the Pacific and they write stories about that – they often miss out on the cultural aspect of it and sometimes our people’s stories are not told with dignity and we wanted to change that. We wanted to say: “Look, we understand the signs. We understand the technology as much as you do. We understand the culture here and the context better. Let us tell our stories in a way that matters to us,” she said.

 

The Pacific Environment Journalists Network is a separate organization outside of Pacific Islands News Agency and was founded by 10 journalists from the Pacific including Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

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