Six Pacific journalists selected for new Financial Investigative Reporting Initiative from East-West Center, Report for the World

The East-West Center and Report for the World are pleased to announce the six journalists that have been selected for the Pacific Islands Financial Investigative Reporting and Mentorship Initiative, or the FIRM. This new initiative supports the establishment and expansion of financial investigative reporting units within local newsrooms committed to public service journalism.

The selected journalists are:

  • Meri Radinibaravi – The Fiji Times (Fiji)
  • Aisha Azeemah – Islands Business (Fiji)
  • Julie Badui Owa and Charmaine Poriambep – Inside PNG (Papua New Guinea)
  • Ronald Flier Toito’ona – In-depth Solomons (Solomon Islands)
  • Siosifa Pomana – Talanoa ʻo Tonga (Tonga)

“Local, independent media are well placed to connect communities through consistent reporting on critical issues, and to hold leaders accountable on public interest issues,” said Preethi Nallu, Executive Director of Report for the World. “We are delighted to work with a new cohort of journalists and newsrooms in the Pacific Islands, who will explore key themes in their countries, such as climate, corruption, health, education, and gender through the finance and economy angles.”

The FIRM will provide salary support for each of these full-time, seasoned financial investigative journalists to staff their respective units for up to three years. They will also receive specialized professional development and mentorship services throughout the three years focusing on strategic financial investigative reporting skills, journalism safety, cyber security, visual journalism, and encouraging international collaboration on story design and reporting. These services will be provided by the East-West Center, Report for the World, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project—a global investigative journalism network—and other expert resources as required.

“This partnership means that we will be able to have a dedicated reporter investigating some of the region’s most important financial stories,” said Samantha Magick, Managing Editor at Islands Business. “Islands Business has long relied on a strong network of some of the Pacific’s best correspondents, and to be able to now support the development of an in-house expert will deepen and improve the sustainability of our coverage.”

These journalists will also attend the 2024 East-West Center International Media Conference being held June 23–26 in Manila, Philippines, which will include a session to officially launch the FIRM initiative. The conference will also feature panels of the selected journalists and representatives from the East-West Center, Report for the World, and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

The FIRM initiative is being funded in part by PROJECT Governance, a multi-year partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)the Pacific Community, and the East-West Center to strengthen democratic institutions and promote sound, just, and responsive government throughout the Pacific Islands.

“By partnering with local newsrooms in the Pacific Islands through the FIRM, PROJECT Governance is boosting their capacity to shed light on financial matters that can have major impacts on a country’s economic and political systems,” said East-West Center President Suzanne Vares-Lum. “Strengthening the voices of independent media can lead to impactful and positive change in good governance practices.”

About the East-West Center

The East-West Center was established by the United States Congress in 1960 to serve as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options. The Center is an independent, public nonprofit organization with funding from the United States government and additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and governments in the region.

The Center has been supporting independent journalism in the Indo-Pacific and the United States since 1967. The EWC Alumni network includes more than 4,000 journalists working in the United States, Asia, and the Pacific Islands who have participated in the Center’s prestigious reporting fellowships, dialogue exchanges, collaborative professional development programs, and a flagship International Media Conference held every two years in a major Asia-Pacific hub. The Center’s bi-annual International Media Conference offers a unique professional networking opportunity to discuss key issues and trends in media. The only international media conference regularly held with an Indo-Pacific and United States focus, these gatherings have grown into one of the region’s most influential media events.

About Report for the World

Report for the World is a global journalism program that supports full-time, beat-focused reporting positions for public interest media. By creating a more sustainable and impactful media ecosystem, Report for the World informs, engages, and enables communities through public service journalism. Report for the World is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization.