Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

Reclaim the right to know toki and locate it online

Volume 16, Issue 2

October, 2010

From page
to page
Williams-Lahari, L. (2010). Reclaim the right to know toki and locate it online. Pacific Journalism Review, 16(2): 10-14.
UNESCO WPFD: Media Freedom in Oceania
Author(s): Lisa Williams-Lahari
Publication date: 
October, 2010

Commentary: A Cook Islands proverb goes like this: Taraia to toki, ei toki tarai enua – ‘Sharpen your adze, the adze to carve nations.’ Applying the proverb in this context, the toki/adze can be seen as the media. The right to know is the tool which keeps the adze strong and effective. When the toki is well prepared for its work, the impact on public debate and protection of media freedoms is strongest. The diversity of news outlets and ‘talking heads’ in the public domain helps foster a sense of public participation; and ownership of the governance process. When the adze is blunted by lack of Freedom of Information legislation, or by the failure of media workers to pressure for the public interest and the right to know, we see the deadening impacts that many of us can attest to in our countries.