News Media remains the major and most influential source of information, ideas and opinions for most people around the world and in particular in Fiji . It is a key element of the public and private space in which people, nations and societies live. A nation or society does not fully know itself and cannot respond to its citizens’ aspirations without the information being widely known. The people and the ideas, opinions and information appearing in the news as well as the way in which it is portrayed matters. The perspective from which new stories is portrayed is vital upon analysing the news. The news selection is also important. Across the world, the cultural underpinnings of gender inequality and discrimination against women reinforced through the media.
WHAT DOES MEDIA MONITORING ENTAIL?
The Media Monitoring Programme is designed to collect substantial evidence on the performance of mainstream media (print/TV) and to report on the performance of the mainstream media industries on the protection and promotion of humanistic values and democratic practices.
WHY DO WE NEED TO DO MEDIA MONITORING?
Fiji Media Watch monitors the media for various reasons. One of the most obvious reasons is that to ensure that the media is not used as means to promote dangerous stereotypes and convey messages that may be offensive to different groups within FIjian society, including multi-cultural groups, social groups, ages and gender.
The second reason is that ensuring the media adheres to the Fiji Media Code of Ethics. Journalists need to be convinced that balanced reporting is vital to promoting good governance, human rights and democracy. It is not just the absence of restrictions on the media that matter, but the extent to which all sectors of society, especially the most marginalised who can access the media to gain and make their voices heard.
THEMATIC AREA 2: MEDIA MONITORING
Media monitoring refers to the broad activity of assessing the performance of the media–print, radio, visual and internet–according to its code of ethics and the standards of the common good and human decency. Also, part of this task is the monitoring of how well human rights are protected and enhanced by the media and the government and the performance of both on good governance principles. This task cannot be left to the media organisations themselves or to the media’s public forum of accountability, which, in the case of Fiji, is the Fiji Media Association or the government itself. This task requires the input of civil society groups if media freedom and responsibility is to be strengthened and sustained, not abused, and ultimately the protection of human rights and the principles of good governance.
To assist in this public, task, the Fiji Media Watch will concentrate on three aspects of media monitoring:
Develop and implement an adequate media monitoring programme
Training of schools and community leaders on media monitoring skills and establishing community media monitoring networks
Researching and advocating decent standards of news reporting and public accountability of the mainstream media, based on their adherence to their code of ethics and standards of the common good and human decency.
The latter will look at monitoring selected key issues relating to human rights and good governance for period of time. The report of this activity which will be made public is one example of media monitoring.