Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister Delivers Key Messages to Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union

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07 August 2019, Apia Samoa. Deputy Prime Minister Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa spoke to open the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) conference and workshop at the Tanoa Tusitala earlier this week with key messages and advice to the media sector.

As Minister of Natural Resources and Environment the Deputy Prime Minister touched on the issue of Climate Change.

“The other message that is coming through clearly for climate change is the people’s response and your sector, media and broadcasting, has a real opportunity to work collaboratively with other countries all over the world to build that movement – for people to take back the responsibility for our planet”.

Fiame also touched on the issue of Domestic Violence reminding the participants of the significant impacts of domestic violence on the development of a country.

“When half of the population is not able to live their lives to their fullest potentials, I think that we are all necessarily being limited by the experience of that part of our population”.

The Deputy Prime Minister commended the organisation on taking a collaborative approach in working together but did call for inclusiveness in the name of the organisation, ABU.

“Why haven’t you added the P to the name of the organization… this is the message I quite often make in other sectors that I am involved in; if we truly are a region, the Asia Pacific, then it must be reflected in the names of our organisations”, said Fiame.

Below is the full speech of Acting Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa.

Our local host Galumalemana Faiesea
Distinguished Guests and Conference Participants
Ladies and Gentlemen

Talofa and Good Morning

Well my task is a very easy and pleasurable one which is to declare your meeting open, so at the outset can I say that your meeting is now officially declared open.

In having the opportunity to join you for this morning and especially for this opening session, I also join your local host Galumalemana Faiesea Lei Sam Matafeo (TV1 Samoa’s Chief Executive) together with other Samoan participants here to offer you a very warm and sincere welcome to Samoa.

We like to host events here in Samoa, not only because it will increase our visitor numbers but more so in this instant in your sector of media because it enables our local people in the sector to participate in these events of the conference and on the workshops. We all know that when we have such events held in other countries, one of the challenges is of funding to enable people to travel and take up the opportunities that are offered by those events.

So I am very happy and thank the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union for bringing this event here into Samoa and to the Pacific part of our region.
While I’m on the subject of the Pacific part of the region, I am informed that this union was formed in the 1964 and that you are the largest broadcasting union in the world.

Can I take this opportunity make a request and I don’t know what you Pacific Islander members of the ABU have been doing and why you haven’t added the P to the name of the organization.
I think this is very inclusive.

I know those of us who are involved in other regional activities, this cabling of Asia Pacific is a common one but it’s also a challenging one because the two regions are quite diverse in size and number, in capacity and resources, both physical and human of-course, which is the important one.

But this is the message that I quite often make in the other sectors that I am involved in that if we are truly are a region, the Asia Pacific, then it must be reflected in the names of our organizations.

You have a very impressive scope of issues to deal with, not only the conference part but especially in the workshopping parts of your meeting which will greatly assist in the capacity building of your membership.

But on reflecting on this union and how important broadcasting information is, I think I don’t need to tell you the situation our global environment is in.

But I think whenever we come up to challenging times it’s always an opportunity to reflect as an organization about who we are, what we are and what we want to do. It’s really about our values and I think it’s very important that organizations do that exercise from time to time.

Dr. Mottaghi (ABU Secretary General), talked about the challenge that is constantly before your sector of providing true, unbiased, substantial, relevant information. And in the context of fake news and social media, I think your sector is particularly challenged to meet that goal of yours.

We are of course challenged technically partly because of the resources available to us but the technology does provide unprecedented opportunities for us to expand our work to be more inclusive, to find information and I think I wanted to share with you this morning that our government is currently developing our digital platform and our transitioning has been quite an interesting exercise.

And I think more and more the re-current message coming through no matter what sector we work in is this whole idea of partnership, working together, collaborating, and coordinating efforts to deliver on a particular outcome, and governments are no different and I am sure your sector we have discussions this morning with Dr. Mottaghi and the Director of UNESCO about the possibility of hosting a general assembly in the region.

And that requires a huge collaboration and I am amused of Nisha’s response to Dr. Mottaghi, she said, “If all the governments of the Pacific sign up to it we’ll be fine.”

So you probably are looking at nine teen (19) governments. But we work like that most of the time and I’m sure it can be done.

I just want to touch quite briefly on some of the tropical issues of our times and our previous speakers made mention of climate change and as the Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, this is a subject very close to my heart not only as a Minister but as a human being.

And one of the things that I wanted to take the opportunity while speaking with you this morning as that there is quite good reporting globally on a really large issue, the bringing together of governments, the science and so forth. But more and more, I think the other message that is coming clearly for climate change response is the people’s response and your sector, media and broadcasting, has a real opportunity to work collaboratively with other countries all over the world to build that movement – for people to take back the responsibility for our planet.

And the story needs to be told, they need to be seen because this is one of the questions when the people hear about the Paris Agreement and who pulled out and who’s still there and who won’t stop their meeting but will pay the money – all those sorts of things.

We need to be deciphering and bringing those messages down so that people do get the message that we all have the responsibility in the response to climate change and its impact on our lives and where we live.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Pacific Island or in the larger area of our region of Asia, Europe, Africa, America, we all experiencing impacts of climate change.

In the Pacific, as a women Parliamentarian and I like to take this message and speak about it as often as I can and this has to do with domestic violence.

The prevalence of domestic violence in the Pacific is very high, and what I do like to say to my colleagues in the Pacific, when we are talking about domestic violence is somehow the Pacific thinks that it’s a particular issue to them but it is a global issue.

In the Pacific I think the impact of domestic violence on the development of a country has serious significance.  When half of the population is not able to live their lives to their fullest potentials, I think that we are all necessarily being limited by the experience of that pad of our population.

One of the things that I did reflect on, you know that adage, ‘no news is good news’, I always thought about it, and then thought, what does that mean?

Does that mean that only bad news is what we are looking for, is there no room for good news?

So I think colleagues and friends, I think we really need good news, there is enough bad news.
And we need good news in a very substantial way. In a way that can sustain us, can give us hope, can show light upon darkness and so forth. So while you are discussing and sharing during the next few days, I might just wonder we might all ponder on that adage ‘no news is good news’ or that the good news is the best.

Ladies and gentlemen that is enough for me and since I’ve open your meeting right at the outset, all that is left for me is to wish you well.

I hope for all the participants, the outcomes of the meeting and the workshops will meet your expectations and if they don’t that you will take the opportunity to speak up and use the platform of the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union to set your agenda in such a way that you will remain or continue to be a relevant organization to service our Union.

So Good Luck everyone and Faafetai Lava……