The Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) is urging its members to hold fast to the fundamental principles of good journalism.
“As journalists we need to remember at all times that our role and responsibilities are very different from members of the public posting comments and opinion on social media,” the President of MASI, Georgina Kekea said. “If we are doing our jobs well, the public will know it can rely on our reporting for accurate and correct information.”
The statement on behalf of the MASI Board was issued following this week’s court ruling that a man, charged with spreading false rumours, after posting on social media, was acquitted of his charges.
MASI says while the court ruled that the man has a no case to answer, this did not mean that journalists are free to report rumours or opinion as fact.
“Information or claims that have not been checked and verified are really nothing more than gossip. Journalists reporting gossip as ‘news’ are really just publishing fake news,” Ms. Kekea said.
“Journalists must always be guided by our responsibilities to report accurately and not be distracted by chasing fame or popularity.”
The core principles of journalism must always be in the forefront when reporting on issues, regardless of the medium she said. These are balance, fairness and accuracy and impartiality.
“Just because one person says or claims something does not make it true or able to be reported as a fact. This is more than just posting or sharing unverified information on social media”, Ms. Kekea said.
She says MASI remains committed in its efforts to provide high-quality journalism in Solomon Islands in order to build back public trust and correct fake news and disinformation.ENDS///