Hayes urges media to help with issues

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Papua New Guinea’s media industry must consider a collaborative effort in pursuit of issues like corruption, HIV/AIDS and resource development, especially the LNG project, former Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Dr Mark Hayes said.
Hayes said it was surprising and a complete mystery that the media had turned a blind eye on issues such as HIV/AIDS and the LNG project, which was taking a toll on many lives.
He said despite having a neighbour that was considered the superpower in the Pacific, Australian journalists and the local media were completely ignoring important social issues.
“I think it is time the PNG media come out to consider another collaborative effort,” Hayes said last week during his four-day lecture to final-year journalism students of Divine Word University in Madang.
He said such issues were important and of interest to the local and international audience.
“At the same time there needs to be concerted efforts by journalists from all media to tunnel deeply into these issues and dig out the real stories,” the journalist said.
The veteran media personality  queried the role of Papua New Guinea media council.
“I heard some years back that all the print media, radio and television collaborated to wage a war on corruption through the media council,” he said.
“I do not know what happened to that but it would be good to have similar efforts by the media council now on reporting for HIV/AIDS and LNG,” Hayes said.
Hayes is the only Australian media journalist who made the Pacific his media patch.
He has done media training in Fiji, Tuvalu, Samoa, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
Hayes said the Melanesian “wantok system” was one of the main obstacles to media in Pacific.
“The wantok system can act as a social protection unit but can be bad as well,” he said.