Saturday, June 21, 2008
“While there is a clamor for a political identity at the national level there is also demand for distinctive ethnic diversity. The search for political equilibrium in Fiji’s communal democracy has been constantly subverted by indigenous ethno-nationalism, justified by the ideology of paramountcy of Fijian interests.”
The 2000 coup brought to surface a lot of contradictions of communal democracy. “But the State system has not in itself changed despite the change in ideological and professional focus of the military from being an institution of indigenous rights to one which serves national interest."
The 2006 coup was an attempt to transform the identity of the state in a fundamental way through institutional reform and a proposed charter, he said. And now the debate is on about the legitimacy of this approach.
Fair enough, but this is journalism 101 - one of the fairness foundations of journalism that reporters grow up with. It is in the interpretation of fairness where the credibility gap begins. She complains that journos in the Pacific don't know enough about the difference between "coverage" and "cover-up". And she reckons that the "worldview of owners" is too influential. On her checklist for journos is:
- "There is no such thing as objectivity of perspective; there are only subjectivities, including prejudices, and these must be kept firmly under control to protect journalistic professionalism.
- "The right to a fair hearing is a requirement in reporting a story..."
In her book, there is far too much "manipulation" by media in the Pacific. But the chapter is generalised with no specific examples of her claims. In her adjudication in the Hunter and Hannah complaint (filed by "Opposition Leader" Mick Beddoes), there is an attack on an alleged "conspiracy" involving the New Zealand government - highlighted today by the Sunday-Star Times.
Meanwhile, media freedom in the region continues to deteriorate with Cook Islands News publisher John Woods becoming the latest journo to face the wrath of bureaucratic or judicial vindictiveness. He has been convicted of contempt in the High Court on Rarotonga over the breach of a suppression order related to a Manihiki land controversy.
Mike Field and others have also reported on the police raid on Fiji Television to block a Close Up current affairs programme featuring Rajendra Chaudhry that irked the regime.
Friday, June 20, 2008
With growing evidence of low economic growth, poverty, mismanagement, corruption and political instability in the Pacific, the co-editors argue that an unfettered flow of information is vital:
The media has a crucial role to play in facilitating quick and better access to information about issues such as health, education, technology, economy and politics to help to maintain the social and political cohensiveness that is so important for development in small and vulnerable countries.
- Fiji orders
- Australia and NZ orders - Pacific Media Centre publications
- 'Defend Fiji media from state regulation'
Monday, June 16, 2008
- Reef campaign steps up in bid for world heritage status
- Goro Nickel - non au tuyau
- Corail Vivant
- Rheebu Nuu
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The original PMW news monitoring service was established in 1996 as a journalism partnership between the University of Technology, Sydney, and the University of Papua New Guinea. The University of the South Pacific journalism school has also been a key contributor in recent years.
PMW campaigned in support of Tongan publisher Kalafi Moala, fellow journalist Filokalafi 'Akau'ola and pro-democracy MP 'Akilisi Pohiva who were wrongfully jailed that year for contempt of Parliament.
At the launch, I paid tribute to the researchers and students involved in the centre. But I would especially like to single out Sydney television journalist Peter Cronau for his sustained work on PMW over many years - including setting up the original PMW website and Kiribati journalist Tabs Korauaba who helped work on developing files for the digital archive last year.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
The lush tropical rainforests of Papua New Guinea are not the unspoilt haven that many believed till now. In fact, they are disappearing faster than those in the Amazon.
That's the conclusion of a team led by Phil Shearman of the Remote Sensing Centre at UPNG in Port Moresby, who applied pattern recognition software to recent satellite images, and paired the results with map data from the 1970s to reconstruct the rate of forest loss. The team presented its findings ... at a workshop on climate change, forests and carbon trading in Port Moresby.
Their study found that in 2002, 1.4 per cent of PNG's forests were cleared or degraded, increasing to 1.7 per cent in 2007. If the trend continues, more than half the forest that existed when PNG became independent from Australia in 1975 will be gone by 2021.
The Guardian reported in a bylined piece by David Adam:
The forests of Papua New Guinea are being chopped down so quickly that more than half its trees could be lost by 2021 ... Papua New Guinea has the world's third largest tropical forest, but it was being cleared or degraded at a rate of 362,000 hectares (895,000 acres) a year in 2001, the report said.
Phil Shearman, lead author of the study, said: "Forests are being logged repeatedly and wastefully with little regard for the environmental consequences, and with at least the passive complicity of government authorities."
The researchers compared satellite images taken over three decades from the early 1970s. In 1972 the country had 38m hectares (94m acres), of rainforest covering 82 percent of the country. About 15 percent of that was cleared by 2002.
Shearman said: "For the first time we have evidence of what's happening. The government could make a significant contribution to global efforts to combat climate change, as this nation is particularly susceptible to negative effects due to loss of the forest cover."
Pictured: Not far behind the PNG rainforest roads, the rapacious loggers. Source: UPNG report.
Friday, May 30, 2008
- Too many youthful journalists with energy but a limited grasp of history, geography, sociology and economics - leaving "a large gap in general knowledge".
- The lack of resources given by the media to covering international stories of "importance to New Zealand".
- The need for mainstream media to have a better understanding of cultural diversity.
- Journalists shouldn't confuse healthy scrutiny with cynicism because that undermines the political process.
- Personality driven media with journalists making themselves the centre of the story.
- The role of blogs and the tendency for journalists to make "rushed judgments".
This edition's special section of research papers from the Journalism Education Association of NZ conference at Massey University last December has been edited by my Wellington colleague Dr Grant Hannis. The journal has only just gone out to subscribers but already there has been plenty of positive feedback. Other contributors include Fortune journalist and author Bethany McLean, who exposed Enron over its gigantic scam, and Dom Post editor Tim Pankhurst over how his paper is facing the challenges of digital media. Hannis himself contributes a revealing research paper about freelance journalists. Other articles in the AUT Pacific Media Centre- published journal highlight the Maori Party and the media, bogans in West Auckland and West Papuan coverage plus a state-of-media-health report by Bill Rosenberg. And a host of good reviews are also included.