Pacific Press Release – Pacific Media Watch, 19 October 2009
IFJ HONOURS COURAGE AND INTEGRITY OF SAMOAN JOURNALISTS
SYDNEY (International Federation of Journalists/Pacific Media Watch): The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) honours the courage and professionalism of local and foreign journalists reporting on the tsunami that struck Samoa and nearby Pacific Islands on September 29 killing 119 people.
A trauma debriefing mission to assist local media personnel in dealing with the impacts of reporting wide-scale disaster will be conducted in Samoa this week by the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, at the request of the Journalists’ Association of (Western) Samoa (JAWS) and IFJ Asia-Pacific.
JAWS secretary Cherelle Jackson said many local journalists had reported the devastation of the tsunami to the international media even as they were unaware of the fate of their families and friends.
“It was hard to report without being affected by what had happened, nothing could prepare any journalist to cover such a tragic event without being personally affected and reduced to tears on the spot,” she said in a statement.
The Alliance Safety and Solidarity Appeal, which is funded by donations from Australian journalists, is jointly supporting the trauma-support program to be conducted in Samoa’s newsrooms by Dart Australasia’s managing director Cait McMahon and New Zealand veteran war and disaster correspondent Jon Stephenson.
“The IFJ praises the courage and commitment of our Samoan colleagues and their professionalism and integrity in reporting under such extreme and personally affecting circumstances,” IFJ Asia-Pacific director Jacqueline Park said.
The IFJ stands in solidarity with Samoa’s journalism community as it meets the challenge of continuing to report on the impacts of such wide-scale disaster.
* For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919. The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.