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By Robert Iroga in Honiara

Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) has publicly thanked one of the Solomon islands’ longest serving journalists and newspaper editors Ofani Eremae for his dedication and commitment in keeping the work of the media alive.

Eremae, was reportedly dishonorably and undiplomatically terminated as editor by the Solomon Star newspaper, a family owned media house of a very well-respected journalist, the late John Lamani.

Lamani had always in his time treated his journalists with respect and upheld the independence of media.

READ MORE: Covid-19 an excuse for ‘inhumane’ media cull

Eremae was terminated two weeks ago by the Solomon Star, the newspaper he had joined as a young journalist and worked for many years alongside Lamani.

He made his way up as a reporter, where he built his reputation and trust to take up the position of chief editor in the newsroom.

Eremae worked for more than 20 years with the newspaper and has contributed a lot to country’s print media to better inform and educate the nation on important issues and information.

He truly maintained the important role of media and civil society in a democracy, especially holding power to account.

Quality information
During his tenure with the newspaper there was growth in quality of information the newspaper carried in each issue.

In general, he continued to advance the fundamental role of the media in Solomon Islands as a democratic country.

His long service will stay as a legacy to the media industry in Solomon Islands.

The shocking underhand way he was dismissed/terminated – blamed on on the covid-19 pandemic – will linger on in journalists’ memory and for generations of journalists that will continue to carry on from where he left.

Given the manner in which he was terminated, Transparency Solomon Islands continues to call for the human treatment and protection of journalists from their employers and any legislative reforms that restrict their voice, space, and investigative power.

It is the editors working with fellow journalist such as Eremae did that keeps the work of the print media relevant and consistent to the news readers and public of Solomon Islands.

Let us treat them with dignity and respect and accord them natural justice.

Treat journalists fairly call
Transparency Solomon Islands calls on all mainstream media organisation to treat journalists fairly and humanly and not to use the covid-19 as an excuse to unfairly terminate them from their job of informing the public about what is going on.

It is they who collect the news, editors doing the due diligence checks to inform the public correctly.

Covid-19 in this case does not ring true, especially when termination starts with the most experienced person.

Transparency Solomon Islands reminds the government that media houses need an economic stimulus package for the important role they play supporting government programmes and as an information source for public.

But more importantly so that they can keep their journalists at work and not ungraciously dismissed as in this instance.

Transparency Solomon Islands conveys it sincere appreciation to Ofani Eremae and has acknowledged his contribution to the media industry during his time with the Solomon Star.

The anti-corruption watchdog hopes to work with the new editor going forwards.

Robert Iroga is editor of SBM Online.

  • Pacific Media Watch reports: Media working in the public interest are vitally needed to provide quality and reliable news and information, especially at this time of a global pandemic affecting countries throughout the world. Pacific Media Watch condemns the underhand and unprofessional manner that some media companies are using to cut costs, especially in the recent shocking retrenchment of the most senior editor, Ofani Eremae, of the largest newspaper company, Solomon Star, without transparency and consultation.
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