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Press Freedom heros

Apia, Samoa

Congratulations to Pesi Fonua (editor of Matangi Tonga and chair of the Tonga Media Council) and John Lamani (publisher of the Solomon Star and trustee for Media Association of Solomon Islands).

They were on November 21 named PINA Pacific Media Freedom Award winners for 2005.

It is... much deserved recognition of many years of effort by both to defend and promote freedom of expression and information.

Pesi was in the front ranks of successful efforts to overturn odious media laws introduced in the kingdom of Tonga. He... did so despite real threats to the economic... wellbeing of Matangi Tonga, and the constant threat of draconian laws possibly being used against him.

John continued fearlessly publishing the Solomon Star throughout the... Solomon Islands... ethnic conflict and coup. He did so... despite efforts by gun-wielding thugs to intimidate and silence him and an economy in collapse. In the peace he... has rebuilt the Solomon Star into a successful company publishing the country's only daily and also operating a popular radio station.

As I've said many times: It's easy to be a press freedom 'hero' from the safety of New Zealand or Australia.

But the true heroes are those who stay and fight the true fight where it is toughest.... Pesi and John are excellent examples of this.... 

Peter Lomas

Training and Development Editor

Samoa Observer Newspaper Group

Apia, Samoa; Tafuna, American Samoa; and Auckland, New Zealand

peteralomas [at] hotmail [dot] com