UN, stakeholders host public discussion on informal settlements and role of media
(Suva, Fiji) – A public discussion on informal settlements and the role of the media, featuring journalists, the People’s Community Network, as well as representatives from informal settlements is expected to draw further attention to the rights of people living in informal settlements around Fiji.
The discussion to be held at the University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Marine Studies Lecture Theatre’s (Lower Laucala Campus) at 6pm on Thursday 28 November will feature contributions from freelance journalists Samisoni Pareti, John Kamea and Fiji Television’s Maciu Bolaitamana. Representatives from informal settlements around the country have also been invited to participate in the event.
The three journalists are among several journalists throughout Melanesia who have received small grants from UNDP aimed at increasing public awareness and facilitating informed discussions about urban informal settlements.
The journalists have travelled to various settlements around Fiji and highlighted some of the issues faced by those living in informal settlements, which include the situation of women in informal settlements as well as the right to adequate housing more generally; they also looked at the impact of the Government of Fiji’s Squatter Settlement Upgrading Project.
The journalists have been encouraged to produce rights-based content that empowers those living in informal settlement by giving them a voice, by refraining from negative stereotyping, and by making people more aware of their rights and encouraging accountability. They were equipped with the knowledge and skills to undertake this work at a regional workshop in June.
The activities are part of a regional project that seeks to promote the right to adequate housing in Melanesia by using the role of the media to raise public awareness and facilitate an informed debate on key development challenges in the region. The project is implemented by UNDP in partnership with UN-Habitat, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR), the University of the South Pacific (USP), with the support of the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS).
The public discussion will be facilitated by USP’s Journalism Coordinator, Professor Ian Weber. The non-governmental organization People’s Community Network, as well as representatives from informal settlements will participate in the discussion to share some of the perspectives from those living in informal settlements.
The public discussion aims to contribute to the following objectives:
- Increase public awareness and informed discussions about urban informal settlements.
- Give a voice to people living in urban informal settlements
- Highlight the role of the media in bringing development challenges into the public domain.
Sheryl Ho, Knowledge Communications Analyst, tel: (679) 322-7504 or email: email@example.com