Information was well delivered, people were informed, they responded positively which saw one of the biggest crowd present to farewell the country’s late President, Father Baldwin Lonsdale who passed away on June 17, 2017.
Thanks to the mainstream media companies in the country, online and mobile media platforms and the face to face communications that disseminated information for people to stand along the road side and say farewell to the late President Baldwin Lonsdale.
While the government declared 10 mourning days in the country, having a large crowd present during the body’s passing through Port Vila city reflects the community’s grief and show of respect towards the loss of the country’s President.
According to a report by PACMAS in 2013 one of
the biggest challenges in Vanuatu is reaching the dispersed population, especially those who live on the outer islands.
This affects broadcasting in terms of reach, and presents challenges in the regular maintenance of equipment.
The remoteness of some communities is a barrier when it comes to message delivery around climate change and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
But times have changed, telecommunication companies have also made communication easier and people in the islands don’t only rely on radio but the use of mobile data to access Facebook has made information easy and accessible.
Vanuatu Daily Post reported well since day one having people informed via its Facebook page, newspaper and the radio station Buzz FM 96.
That includes well taken photographs telling the story from beginning to end.
The entire population throughout the country were also informed through other mediums such as FM 107, Radio Vanuatu and FM 98. For people living overseas the Vanuatu Daily Post Facebook page and Yumi Toktok Stret were very beneficial.
Schools around Port Vila were informed by the Ministry of Education to have all their students present along the road side to bid farewell. A good turnout was made and in fact everyone was on time before the body passed through, which shows that information was well delivered and respected.
Meanwhile, something this writer noticed was that amongst the crowd that turned up most of them were youths, and school students.
President for the National Youth Council, Vira Taivakalo, told FM 107 during an interview that the reaction by youths shows that there is hope for tomorrow.
He said the actions and words of the late President has inspired and impressed many young people which impacted on the high turnout during the funeral procession.
Media is a very powerful tool that helps to disseminate information and a good example was seen during this sad time for Vanuatu where people reacted positively which on the other hand shows that people are starting to accept and depend on media as the main source of information, thanks to the hard work of journalists, online administrators and their companies for their effort in keeping people informed.
If people are starting to value and respect information release by the media then it means that information released must be true and genuine to benefit everyone. People using different social media platforms must also post with responsibility.
Meanwhile, Police has cautioned social media users in the country over posts that incite violence.
This means that anyone posting comments using hate speech is likely to be held accountable for his or her actions.