THE media is the fourth estate mechanism in a democratic society that holds Cabinet and Parliament accountable to the people.

Therefore they should be free and independent to carry out its watchdog role in society.

The Hon. Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva made the call this morning when the Legislative Assembly reconvened after more than a months break.

His comments came when he reaffirmed the Cabinet’s commitment to promote good governance and accountability.

“Media should be free. Their watchdog role should be encouraged to ensure government’s integrity and public accountability. I support the media’s scrutiny role of Cabinet and Parliament’s activities. If their coverage highlights our shortfall, it helps us to improve our performance.

If I am criticized I accept it … but do not gag the media. Their watchdog role should be encouraged,” said the Hon. PM

‘Eua Noble Representative Lord Nuku thinks otherwise. He insisted that the media has done major damage for its inaccurate and misleading reporting. He stated the media even criticises the work of the Judiciary.

“Media should convey only the truthful information. They should be objective and not opinionate the news story. Their reporting should be within the law," said Lord Nuku.

Pohiva adds if media coverage carries inaccurate and misleading information the matter can be further resolved in court.

Meanwhile the Speaker of Parliament Lord Tu’ivakano is adamant it is essential for the media to provide fair and accurate reporting.

Lord Tu’ivakano maintains the need for media to provide truthful, fair and balanced reporting and the people will make the final decision.

“We all need to work together to develop our country,” said the Speaker.

Hon. PM Pohiva urges the news organization to maintain their watchdog role but at the same time it’s important to provide balanced reporting as well.

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