Sunday, June 2, 2013

PIMA takes on challenge to revive Pasifika media advocacy

Logo design from PIMA's 10th anniversary conference.
By Michael Sergel (thanks to Pacific Media Watch)

SAMOAN Language Week celebrates the language and culture of the 1 in 20 New Zealanders who trace their ancestry to the islands of Samoa, at a time when there are more Samoan stories being told from Samoan perspectives than ever before.

But there are still many stories that go unreported, and the organisation set up to promote a Pacific presence in the New Zealand media faces an uncertain future.

The Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA) was forced to reconsider its own viability at its annual general meeting in April, due to a lack of interest in committee positions and a low attendance from its 90 members.

Outgoing secretary Sandra Kailahi, one of the founders of PIMA, told the meeting that a new committee would have to step forward if the organisation was to continue to exist.

That interim committee has been formed, and chair Will 'Ilolahia has asked members to give PIMA “one more go” at being an effective Pacific representation in the media industry.

“We are in the process of redefining what PIMA is as an organisation, and to look to see where the organisation can best add value to those in the industry and community,” he says.

The organisation’s journalism scholarships, established in partnership with the sponsors, AUT University,  have drawn more people into the study of Pacific journalism, and annual networking conferences have provided Pacific journalism students and professionals with an opportunity to network and share knowledge.

Because the organisation lacks resourcing and volunteers, it will focus on holding annual conferences, looking for new members, seeking funding from the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, and being a liaison with other media organisations.

There are also some issues that 'Ilolahia would like the organisation to pursue – around the two not always complementary aims of supporting Pacific journalists, and promoting Pacific-specific media organisations.

“Some of the Pacific Island media are underpaying their own staff, or expecting their staff to do it for the sake of representing the Pacific,” he says.

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