For a diverse country like Papua New Guinea, the task of reporting on disasters is indeed challenging – but there is a greater challenge that lies in disaster forecasting.
The Pacific Media Partnership Conference 2016 (PMPC2016) was told that the country’s leading broadcaster, EMTV, is now working to find how best it can be proactive in reporting on disasters in the country.
EMTV’s Lae Bureau Chief, Scott Waide, presented on the topic ‘Disaster Management Through Reporting’, and highlighted the importance of forming strategic partnerships.
Speaking on his experience as EMTV’s lead disaster reporter, Waide spoke of the need for broadcasters to become the link between key government agencies, and the people on the ground.
“In our line of work, there are certain times where we as the media have become the middle person – bringing the plight of people and communities – to the attention of government agencies.
“This has become more critical in the age of social media – especially for EMTV, our different platforms have enabled us to have a presence in more areas than ever before – this also increases the importance of our role in educating communities on disasters – we have to be proactive,” Waide said.
As is the case in other Pacific Island countries, given the increasing number of Papua New Guineans that are now more reachable via social media, the opportunities to know what is happening in real time in incredibly high.
According to Waide, the media’s role is now ever more critical.
“With social media, there is also an added responsibility for broadcasters to also verify fact from fiction – this also has its own challenges,” he said.