Apia, SAMOA – Australia believes in a thriving and independent media sector and is committed to upholding press freedom at home and across the globe.
As part of that commitment, the Australian Government funds the Douglas Gabb Australia Pacific Journalism Internship in partnership with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). The program provides opportunities for Pacific journalists to collaborate and share knowledge with Australian media professionals.
Vaai Moeona Folasa, a journalist with Bluwave Samoa, was successful in his application for a Douglas Gabb placement and has recently returned from Australia. As part of the internship, he undertook two weeks of intensive media training with ABC where he was joined by additional Douglas Gabb interns from Vanuatu and Tonga. The ABC hosted the interns at its Brisbane studio.
Vaai’s successful application for the program was also supported by both his employers and the Journalists Association of Samoa (JAWS). Former Samoans who have been part of the Douglas Gabb Awards program include lauded author Lani Wendt Young, and veteran journalists Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson and Meritiana Oti.
“The training provided through the Douglas Gabb Awards was incredibly valuable and a lot of the knowledge I have gained I am already incorporating into my work. I thank the Australian Government, as well as the ABC, for delivering a world class program. I look forward to finding opportunities to share this knowledge with my Samoan colleagues to further develop our media sector,” said Vaai Moeona Folasa.
“We are always pleased for these opportunities to develop Samoa’s media sector and are grateful to the Government of Australia for their continuous support in this area. Some of our journalists have not had formal journalism training, so opportunities like these are a great way for them to learn more and develop their knowledge and skills. I’m grateful for the opportunity given to Vaai to be part of such a prestigious program in Australia which he will share with our industry members,” said Lagi Keresoma, the President of JAWS.
“Australia’s investment in the media sector, both at home and in the Pacific, reflects our commitment to upholding press freedom, empowering local voices, and strengthening the media’s role as a necessary pillar for all thriving democracies,” said Her Excellency Emily Luck, Australia’s High Commissioner to Samoa.
Australia also supports Samoa and the region’s media sector through the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS). PACMAS is managed by ABC International Development and funded by the Australian Government and supports the development of a diverse, independent and professional Pacific media sector.