David Robie: A future in journalism in the age of ‘media phobia’

Keynote address by Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie at The University of the South Pacific Journalism Awards,19 October 2018, celebrating 50 years of the university’s existence.

Kia Ora Tatou and Ni Sa Bula

For many of you millennials, you’re graduating and entering a Brave New World of Journalism…

Embarking on a professional journalism career that is changing technologies at the speed of light, and facing a future full of treacherous quicksands like never before.  

When I started in journalism, as a fresh 18-year-old in 1964 it was the year after President Kennedy was assassinated and I naively thought my hopeful world had ended, Beatlemania was in overdrive and New Zealand had been sucked into the Vietnam War.

And my journalism career actually started four years before the University of the South Pacific was founded in 1968.

Being a journalist was much simpler back then – as a young cadet on the capital city Wellington’s Dominion daily newspaper, I found the choices were straight forward.

Did we want to be a print, radio or television journalist? The internet was unheard of then – it took a further 15 years before the rudimentary “network of networks” emerged, and then another seven before computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and complicated journalism.   

The first rule for interviewing, aspiring journalists were told in newsrooms – and also in a 1965 book called The Journalist’s Craft that I rediscovered on my bookshelves the other day – was to pick the right source. Rely on sources who were trustworthy and well-informed.

This was long before Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post made “deep throat’ famous in their Watergate investigation in 1972.

The second rule was: make sure you get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but…

We were told that we really needed to get a sense of when a woman or a man is telling the truth.

This, of course, fed into the third rule, which was: talk to the interviewee face to face.

Drummed into us was accuracy, speed, fairness and balance. Many of my days were spent on the wharves of Wellington Harbour painstakingly taking the details of the shipping news, or reporting accidents.

The whole idea was accuracy, accuracy, accuracy. And what a drumming we experienced from a crusty news editor calling us out when we made the slightest mistake.

If we survived this grueling baptism of fire, then we were bumped up from a cadet to a real journalist.

There were few risks to journalists in those days – a few nasty complaints here and there, lack of cooperation from the public, and a possible defamation case if we didn’t know our media law.

It wasn’t until I went to South Africa in 1970 – the then white-minority ruled country that jailed one of the great leaders of our times, Nelson Mandela – that I personally learned how risky it could be being a journalist.

Jailings, assaults and banning orders were commonplace. One of my colleagues, banned then exiled Peter Magubane, a brilliant photographer, was one of my earlier influences with his courage and dedication.

However, today the world is a very different place. It is basically really hostile against journalists in many countries and it continues to get worse.

Today assassinations, murders – especially the killing of those involved in investigating corruption – kidnappings, hostage taking are increasingly the norm.

And being targeted by vicious trolls, often with death threats, is a media fact of life these days.

In its 2018 World Press Freedom Index annual report, the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without borders (RSF), declared that journalists faced more hatred this year than last year, not only in authoritarian countries but also increasingly in countries with democratically elected leaders.

RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said in a statement:

“The unleashing of hatred towards journalists is one of the worst threats to democracies.

“Political leaders who fuel loathing for reporters bear heavy responsibility because they undermine the concept of public debate based on facts instead of propaganda.

“To dispute the legitimacy of journalism today is to play with extremely dangerous political fire.”

Fifty seven journalists have been killed so far in 2018, plus 10 citizen journalists for a total of 67; 155 journalists have been imprisoned, with a further 142 citizen journalists jailed – a total of 297.

In July, it was my privilege to be in Paris for a strategic consultation of Asia-Pacific media freedom advocates in my capacity as Pacific Media Centre director and Pacific Media Watch freedom project convenor. Much of the blame for this “press hatred” was heaped at that summit on some of today’s political leaders.

We all know about US President Trump’s “media-phobia” and how he has graduated from branding mainstream media and much of what they publish or broadcast as “fake news” to declaring them “enemies of the people” – a term once used by Joseph Stalin.

#FIGHTFAKENEWS VIDEO INSERT

Source: Reporters Without Borders

However, there are many leaders in so-called democracies with an even worse record of toying with “press hatred”.

Take for example, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who is  merely two years into his five-year term of office and he has unleashed a “war on drugs” killing machine that is alleged to have murdered between some 7,000 and 12,000 suspects – most of them extrajudicial killings.

He was pictured in the media cradling a high-powered rifle and he admits that he started carrying a gun recently – not to protect himself because he has plenty of security guards, but to challenge a critical senator to a draw “Wild West” style.

Instead, he simply had the senator arrested on trumped up charges.

Duterte has frequently berated the media and spiced up his attacks with threats such as this chilling message he gave casually at a press conference:

“Just because you’re a journalist, you’re not exempted from assassination, if you are a son of a bitch. Free speech won’t save you.”

The death rate among radio journalists, in particular those investigating corruption and human rights violations, has traditionally been high in the Philippines.

In the Czech Republic late last year, President Miloš Zeman staged a macabre media conference stunt. He angered the press when he brandished a dummy Kalashnikov AK47 with the words “for journalists” carved into the woodstock at the October press conference in Prague, and with a bottle of alcohol attached instead of an ammunition clip.

In Slovakia, then Prime Minister Robert Fico called journalists “filthy anti-Slovak prostitutes” and “idiotic hyenas”.

A Slovak reporter, Ján Kuciak, was shot dead in his home in February, just four months after another European journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia of Malta who was investigating corruption, was killed by a targeted car-bombing.

Last week, a 30-year-old Bulgarian investigative journalist, Viktoria Marinova, was murdered. Police said the television current affairs host investigating corruption had been raped, beaten and then strangled.

Most of the media killings are done with impunity.

And then the world has been outraged by the disappearance and shocking alleged murder of respected Saudi Arabian journalist and editor Jamal Khashoggi by a state “hit squad” of 15 men inside his own country’s consulate in Istanbul. He went into the consulate on October 2 and never came out.

The exact circumstances of what happened are still unravelling daily, but a Turkish newspaper reports that the journalist’s smartwatch captured audio of his gruesome killing.

BRIEF VIDEO KHASHOGGI INSERT:


Source: Al Jazeera’s Listening Post

Condemning the brutal act, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, expressed fears that enforced media disappearances are set to become the “new normal”.

While such ghastly fates for journalists may seem remote here in the Pacific, we have plenty of attacks on media freedom to contend with in our own backyard. And trolls in the Pacific and state threats to internet freedom are rife.

The detention of Television New Zealand’s Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver for four hours by police in Nauru at last month’s Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Summit while attempting to interview refugees is just one example of such attempts to shut down truth-seeking.

Among the many protests, Amnesty International said:

“Whether it happens in Myanmar, Iran or right here in the Pacific, detaining journalists for doing their jobs is wrong. Freedom of the press is fundamental to a just society. Barbara Dreaver is a respected journalist with a long history of covering important stories across the Pacific.

“Amnesty International’s research on Nauru showed that the conditions for people who have been banished there by Australia amount to torture under international law. Children are self-harming and Googling how to kill themselves. That cannot be swept under the carpet and it won’t go away by enforcing draconian limits to media freedom.”

Journalists in the Pacific have frequently been persecuted by smallminded politicians with scant regard for the role of the media, such as led to the failed sedition case against The Fiji Times.

The media play a critical role in exposing abuses of power, such as Bryan Kramer’s The Kramer Report in exposing the 40 Maserati luxury car APEC scandal in Papua New Guinea last week.

In this year’s World Media Freedom Day speech warning about the “creeping criminalisation” of journalism, the new UNESCO chair of journalism Professor Peter Greste at the University of Queensland, asked:

“If we appear to be heading into journalism’s long, dark night, when did the sun start to disappear? Although the statistics jump around a little, there appears to be a clear turning point: in 2003, when the numbers of journalists killed and imprisoned started to climb from the historic lows of the late ’90s, to the record levels of the present.

“Although coincidence is not the same as causation, it seems hard to escape the notion that the War on Terror that President George W. Bush launched after 9/11 had something to do with it.”

Peter Greste himself, and his two colleagues paid a heavy price for their truth-seeking during the post Arab Spring upheaval in Egypt – being jailed for 400 days on trumped up terrorism charges for doing their job. His media organisation, Al Jazeera, and rival media groups teamed up to wage their global “Journalism is not a crime” campaign.  

Now that I have done my best to talk you out of journalism by stressing the growing global dangers, I want to draw attention to some of the many reasons why journalism is critically important and why you should be congratulated for taking up this career.  

Next month, Fiji is facing a critically important general election, the second since the return of democracy in your country in 2014. And many of you graduating journalists will be involved.

Governments in Fiji and the Pacific should remember journalists are guardians of democracy and they have an important role to play in ensuring the legitimacy of both the vote and the result, especially in a country such as this which has been emerging from many years of political crisis.

But it is important that journalists play their part too with responsibilities as well as rights. Along with the right to provide information without fear or favour, and free from pressure or threats, you have a duty to provide voters with accurate, objective and constructive information.

The University of the South Pacific has a proud record of journalism education in the region stretching back ironically to the year of the inaugural coups, in 1987. First there was a Certificate programme, founded by Dr Murray Masterton (who has sadly passed away) and later Diploma and Degree qualifications followed with a programme founded by François Turmel and Dr Philip Cass.

It is with pride that I can look back at my five years with USP bridging the start of the Millennium. Among high points were gaining my doctorate in history/politics at USP – the first journalism educator to do so in the Pacific – and launching these very Annual Journalism Awards, initially with the Storyboard and Tanoa awards and a host of sponsors.

When I look at the outstanding achievements in the years since then with current Journalism Coordinator Dr Shailendra Singh and his colleagues Eliki Drugunalevu and Geraldine Panapasa, it is with some pleasure.

And USP should be rightly delighted with one of the major success journalism programmes of the Asia-Pacific region.

Wansolwara newspaper, which celebrated two decades of publishing in 2016, has been a tremendous success. Not many journalism school publications have such sustained longevity and have won so many international awards.

Innovation has been the name of the game, such as this climate change joint digital storytelling project with E-Pop and France 24 media. At AUT we have been proud to be partners with USP with our own Bearing Witness and other projects stretching back for two decades.

Finally, I would like pay tribute to two of the whistleblowers and journalists in the Pacific and who should inspire you in your journalism career.

Firstly, Iranian-born Behrouz Boochani, the refugee journalist, documentary maker and poet who pricked the Australian conscience about the terrible human rights violations against asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru.

He has reminded Canberra that Australia needs to regain a moral compass.

And activist lawyer communicator Joe Moses, who campaigned tirelessly for the rights of the villagers of Paga Hill in Port Moresby. These people were forced out of their homes in defiance of a Supreme Court order to make way for the luxury development for next month’s APEC summit.

Be inspired by them and the foundations of human rights journalism and contribute to your communities and countries. Don’t be seduced by a fast foods diet of distortion and propaganda.

Be courageous and committed, be true to your quest for the truth.

Vinaka vakalevu

Professor David Robie is director of the Pacific Media Centre and professor of journalism in the School of Communication Studies at Auckland University of Technology. He is also editor of Pacific Journalism Review research journal and editor of the independent news website Asia Pacific Report. He is a former USP Journalism Coordinator 1998-2002.
david.robie@aut.ac.nz

References:
Al Jazeera (2018, April 25). Journalism is not a crime: Global press freedom on downward trend: World press freedom index. Retrieved from  https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/04/global-press-freedom-downward-trend-2018-world-press-freedom-index-180425082639950.html

Cooke, H. (2018, September 4). TVNZ reporter Barbara Dreaver released after being detained in Nauru. Stuff. Retrieved from https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/106822330/tvnz-reporter-barbara-dreaver-reportedly-detained-in-nauru

Greste, P. (2018). The creeping criminalization of journalism. MEAA World Press Freedom Day address. Retrieved from https://pressfreedom.org.au/the-creeping-criminalisation-of-journalism-53d1639c3ecb

International Federation of Journalists (2018, May). Criminalising journalism: The MEAA report into the state of press freedom in Australia. Retrieved from https://www.meaa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/PF_report_2018_cover_FINAL2.jpg

Inquirer Mindanao (2017, September 8). Why Duterte carries a gun these days. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/929029/philippine-news-updates-president-duterte-antonio-trillanes-iv-angelo-reyes

Peacock, C. (2018, May 6). Peter Greste: Solidarity and standards. Retrieved from https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/mediawatch/audio/2018643318/peter-greste-solidarity-and-standards

Reporters Without Borders (2017, October 26). Czech President threatens journalists with mock Kalashnikov. Retrieved from https://rsf.org/en/news/czech-republic-czech-president-threatens-journalists-mock-kalashnikov

Reporters Without Borders (2018, May 1). RSF Index 2018: Hatred of journalism threatens democracies. Retrieved from https://rsf.org/en/rsf-index-2018-hatred-journalism-threatens-democracies

Revill, L., & Roderick, C. (Eds.) (1965). The journalist’s craft. The Australian Journalists’ Association. Sydney, NSW: Angus & Robertson.

Robie, D. (2018, July 10). ‘Sick joke’, threats cited in Asia-Pacific declining media freedom summit. Asia Pacific Report. Retrieved from https://asiapacificreport.nz/2018/07/10/sick-joke-threats-cited-in-asia-pacific-declining-media-freedom-summit/

Robie, D. (2004). Mekim Nius: South Pacific media, politics and education. Suva, Fiji: University of the South Pacific Book Centre.

Toboni, G. (2017, June 6). It’s super dangerous to be a journalist in the Philippines. Vice Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.vice.com/en_nz/article/mbqkmb/its-super-dangerous-to-be-a-journalist-in-the-philippines-v24n5

Report by Pacific Media Centre

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

AUT Library publishing platform in line for Open Source Award

By Luqman Hayes
Tuwhera
, AUT’s open access publishing platform that hosts Pacific Journalism Review, has been nominated as a finalist in this year’s New Zealand Open Source Awards in the Education, Social Services and Youth category.

The nomination is acknowledgement of the hard work and innovation of the Library’s Digital Services team in creating an attractive and accessible platform for sharing AUT’s open research publications with a global audience.

Tuwhera started in 2016 with the initial objective of hosting online open access journals edited by our university’s academic staff using Open Journal Systems.

Launching with two peer-reviewed titles, including the Scopus-ranked PJR, Tuwhera has grown significantly in a short time to include research summaries, monographs, conference proceedings and links to the open collections in the AUT’s institutional research repository (formerly Scholarly Commons).

The peer reviewed collection now totals eight titles covering health, finance, law, education, journalism, psychotherapy and indigenous research. These include two entirely new journal publications alongside their more established stablemates, illustrating the way Tuwhera seeks to provide an incubator space for supporting emerging voices and unheard discourse.

A second PMC title, Pacific Journalism Monographs, is also included.

The multiple meanings and contexts of Tuwhera (open, or be open, or opening up) and of other Māori concepts have informed and shaped the team’s work and its relationships. Tuwhera’s kaupapa of openness is built upon an understanding that knowledge exists to be shared for the wider benefit of the communities it springs from.

Luqman Hayes and Donna Coventry will be attending the gala awards ceremony in Wellington on Tuesday 23 October.

Pacific Journalism Review on Tuwhera

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3

Report by Pacific Media Centre

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Pacific Media Centre condemns ‘flagrant’ Nauru ban on ABC at Forum

The New Zealand-based Pacific Media Centre has condemned the selective ban by the Nauru government in what it says is an authoritarian affront to media freedom in the region.

“Clearly the Nauru government is determined to gag any independent efforts to speak truth to power,” said director Professor David Robie.

“The fact that the ABC has gained Nauru’s displeasure is because the public broadcaster has exposed outrageous human rights violations in the Australian-established detention centre for asylum seekers and aired allegations of corruption on a higher level than many other media.”

To accuse the ABC of “biased and false reporting” when the Australian public broadcaster had by far one of the best and most comprehensive coverage of the South Pacific was disingenuous, he said.

Dr Robie also criticised the hypocrisy of the Australian government and the silence of other Forum member countries.

“Australia has spent large sums of money in journalism training in an effort to raise standards and strengthen the quality of independent media in the past two decades and yet stands meekly by in the face of this flagrant violation of media freedom.

“This is shocking and painfully obvious that Australia has much to hide in the region just like the Nauru government.”

The PMC director called on Nauru authorities to review its decision and rescind it.

Republic of Nauru’s media statement

Nauru government’s move ‘disgraceful’

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3

Report by Pacific Media Centre

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Disturbing Asia-Pacific millennials in the digital communication ecosystem

The digital age and the power and challenges of the Millennials as presented by keynote speaker Professor B P Sanjay, pro vice-chancellor of the University of Hyderabad, at the AMIC2018 conference at Manipal, Karnataka, India, on 7-9 June 2018.

The theme of the 26th AMIC (Asian Media Information and Communication) annual conference focuses on disturbing Asian millennials in the context of digital communication ecosystem. Disturbance or disruption is not considered negative but an opportunity to build on. The breadth and scope of this address cannot be  pan-Asian given the limitations of time. It is assumed that diverse and plural perspectives can be expected from the distinguished registrants to the conference. With a focus on India and comparable features in a few other contexts, this address will focus on implications of the changes for the Millennials. That Asia has a significant share of world millennials speaks volumes about the manner in which new media has caught their imagination in China and India. China’s adaptive context is more discussed in comparative literature than India.

The euphoric underpinnings of the digital era into which the Asian region and its sub-variants, the Asia-Pacific, the ASEAN and South Asia have leaped into is reminiscent of many such parallels in the past, both colonial and post-colonial that have highlighted the techno-centric dimension.  Panaceas for development, redeeming and reinforcing democratic traditions, empowerment and participation have been the paradigms of such celebration.  Several academic discourses have contested simplistic replacement notions of replacement of old media when a new medium emerges. Notwithstanding several critiques of the key structural variables that are needed for access, equity, and participation, the celebration of the new media cannot escape our attention and the new ray of hope is the disruption and potential for the millennials to carve out a better context. India in many forums has celebrated the advantages of its millennials. There are divergent hopes and cynicism with regard to what is described as the enormous latent power of the millennials in India described also as the demographic dividend. For example in the BRICS context the dividend factor for India is as follows:

 
The hope is the spread and access of legacy media in India along with a very high degree of spread of mobile telephony and its increasing utility as a device for enhanced social networking and consumption of information and entertainment content, more of the later. (1) The digital disruption in terms of complete substitution to new media took time to transcend the issues and concerns of the digital divide and many issues across demographic spread remain. However, by 2018, the connected consumers’ (in India)  base is about 550 million (dynamic statistics).

This base will be at least 50 percent and millennials will be substantial.


Source:  https://www.slideshare.net/wearesocial/digital-in-2018-in-southern-asia-86866282

Industry annual projections and assessment affirm that mobile will be the primary device for internet access. Across the world, 2018 stats indicate that Asia Pacific region has registered the highest mobile data traffic.  Games and entertainment precede all other forms of content with education coming up last.

Source: https://www.slideshare.net/wearesocial/digital-in-2018-in-southern-asia-8686622

The Indian language online content is expected to reach about 60 percent. Therefore, digital destinations across genres will capitalise on the profile that is non-English. The question legacy media leaders are reflecting upon is whether they can convert their content into digital attractions or face the disruption by digital natives that is eroding the traditional player’s role and position. This disruption may not be as fast and displacing as it is in the West but the writing on the wall is there.

Latest stats are available too but the above is from We Are social agency that releases worldwide and country specific statistics.

Information has been considered as an enabling and empowering input. The speed with which it currently travels through several platforms has raised erstwhile concerns about    legacy media content through adaptation or   user-generated content (UGC). Ethics apart, legacy media is reposed with higher faith based on its screening and verification process and layered institutional processing. While UGC reflects a paradigm shift with regard to the fact that theoretically allows for higher participation. The millennials profile is not uniform across countries and therefore the kind and nature of content have come into sharper focus. Critique of what kind of content is consumed or circulated is a matter of both academic discourse and the legal and regulatory frameworks.

The spectre of fake news with different connotations in other contexts stares us particularly in surcharged communal and electoral politics. The vulnerability is so high that the standard operating procedure in the recent past has been recourse to Internet shut down in volatile contexts. Fake news was also sought to be formally regulated and it was withdrawn as clarity was lacking as to where does such news originate. Several concerned professionals who have reflected on it suggest that among many platforms WhatsApp seems to be the most widely used.

“Fake news is a bit of a misleading term, believes Pankaj Jain, one of India’s most active fake news slayers: Fake news can mean many things – a mistake, intentional misleading, twisting a news story, or fabricating a complete lie. In the past while media houses and credible journalists have been found to put out misleading stories and/or mistakes, the most damage is done by people, fake social media profiles, polarising websites, and pages which spread fake news intentionally for garnering votes and spreading hate,” Jain says. Out of all the channels through which fake news spreads, Jain, whose initiative, Social Media Hoax Slayer, blows the lid off of false information being passed around social media platforms, feels the biggest culprit is the instant messaging app, WhatsApp.” (Sachadeva, 2018)

This has a comparative resonance in, for example, South East Asia.

Karen Lema and other analysing the scenario observe that “most worrying to media rights advocates is that several countries are promoting new legislation or expanding existing regulations to make publishing fake news an offense. The fear is that, rather than focusing on false stories published on social media, authoritarian leaders will use the new laws to target legitimate news outlets that are critical of them.” (Lema, 2018)

Reference in academic literature to user-generated content (UGC) is indicative of a reversal of the overwhelming argument that media in their broadest form is more of an information push or downloadable factor rather than the user having a say. Social media platforms with UGC are examples that have upheld the user. Promising as it may be, it has also revealed an inherent pattern of groupism, territorialization, and affiliations along homogenous sets of ideas and practices. In diverse and plural contexts, this has caused concerns of furthering social schisms.

Has entertainment gone beyond the cartels and expanded? Uploading of one’s own form of entertainment is evident and nascent revenue and acceptance models can be worked out. A related but important aspect with regard to the Millennials is their familiarity and dexterous use of new media platforms. “Global total broadcast TV advertising revenue, consisting of multi-channel and terrestrial TV advertising revenues, accounted for 97.2% of global total TV advertising revenue in 2014. But as viewing continues to move away from traditional networks towards digital alternatives, advertisers will consider changing where they allocate their expenditure to reach desired demographic segments.” (PWC estimate)

While education in the formal sense is imbued with a host of debates of the public sector, commercialization, and privatization, a default faith is placed in the new media that can virtually bring “handheld” education to the millennials.  This is an area public and private sector education sector   intend to reach out through online education and learning options.

The extension models of higher education seem to suggest that this can be tapped to bring the skilled youth to the workforce. The transformative potential and better forms of content production and dissemination are immense. With telecoms in fierce competition and entertainment firms collaborating with them, the spread is vast. Do they contribute to the millennials forging ahead or is the latent disruption more than the potential build up to better contexts daunts us?

I am hopeful that the vast research and academic experience that each one of you brings to this conference helps us unravel the complexities and move forward.

Professor B P Sanjay

Note
(1). The growth of print media for example is explained by many factors including literacy, low subscription and newsstand rates, hyper localisation etc. The millennial specific dimension has not been captured in industry-supported surveys as they say 12+ years and do not stratify the base by age.

Report by Pacific Media Centre

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Disturbing Asian millennials in the digital communication ecosystem

The digital age and the power and challenges of the Millennials as presented by keynote speaker Professor B P Sanjay, pro vice-chancellor of the University of Hyderabad, at the AMIC2018 conference at Manipal, Karnataka, India, on 7-9 June 2018.

The theme of the 26th AMIC (Asian Media Information and Communication) annual conference focuses on disturbing Asian millennials in the context of digital communication ecosystem. Disturbance or disruption is not considered negative but an opportunity to build on. The breadth and scope of this address cannot be  pan-Asian given the limitations of time. It is assumed that diverse and plural perspectives can be expected from the distinguished registrants to the conference. With a focus on India and comparable features in a few other contexts, this address will focus on implications of the changes for the Millennials. That Asia has a significant share of world millennials speaks volumes about the manner in which new media has caught their imagination in China and India. China’s adaptive context is more discussed in comparative literature than India.

The euphoric underpinnings of the digital era into which the Asian region and its sub-variants, the Asia-Pacific, the ASEAN and South Asia have leaped into is reminiscent of many such parallels in the past, both colonial and post-colonial that have highlighted the techno-centric dimension.  Panaceas for development, redeeming and reinforcing democratic traditions, empowerment and participation have been the paradigms of such celebration.  Several academic discourses have contested simplistic replacement notions of replacement of old media when a new medium emerges. Notwithstanding several critiques of the key structural variables that are needed for access, equity, and participation, the celebration of the new media cannot escape our attention and the new ray of hope is the disruption and potential for the millennials to carve out a better context. India in many forums has celebrated the advantages of its millennials. There are divergent hopes and cynicism with regard to what is described as the enormous latent power of the millennials in India described also as the demographic dividend. For example in the BRICS context the dividend factor for India is as follows:

 
The hope is the spread and access of legacy media in India along with a very high degree of spread of mobile telephony and its increasing utility as a device for enhanced social networking and consumption of information and entertainment content, more of the later. (1) The digital disruption in terms of complete substitution to new media took time to transcend the issues and concerns of the digital divide and many issues across demographic spread remain. However, by 2018, the connected consumers’ (in India)  base is about 550 million (dynamic statistics).

This base will be at least 50 percent and millennials will be substantial.


Source:  https://www.slideshare.net/wearesocial/digital-in-2018-in-southern-asia-86866282

Industry annual projections and assessment affirm that mobile will be the primary device for internet access. Across the world, 2018 stats indicate that Asia Pacific region has registered the highest mobile data traffic.  Games and entertainment precede all other forms of content with education coming up last.

Source: https://www.slideshare.net/wearesocial/digital-in-2018-in-southern-asia-8686622

The Indian language online content is expected to reach about 60 percent. Therefore, digital destinations across genres will capitalise on the profile that is non-English. The question legacy media leaders are reflecting upon is whether they can convert their content into digital attractions or face the disruption by digital natives that is eroding the traditional player’s role and position. This disruption may not be as fast and displacing as it is in the West but the writing on the wall is there.

Latest stats are available too but the above is from We Are social agency that releases worldwide and country specific statistics.

Information has been considered as an enabling and empowering input. The speed with which it currently travels through several platforms has raised erstwhile concerns about    legacy media content through adaptation or   user-generated content (UGC). Ethics apart, legacy media is reposed with higher faith based on its screening and verification process and layered institutional processing. While UGC reflects a paradigm shift with regard to the fact that theoretically allows for higher participation. The millennials profile is not uniform across countries and therefore the kind and nature of content have come into sharper focus. Critique of what kind of content is consumed or circulated is a matter of both academic discourse and the legal and regulatory frameworks.

The spectre of fake news with different connotations in other contexts stares us particularly in surcharged communal and electoral politics. The vulnerability is so high that the standard operating procedure in the recent past has been recourse to Internet shut down in volatile contexts. Fake news was also sought to be formally regulated and it was withdrawn as clarity was lacking as to where does such news originate. Several concerned professionals who have reflected on it suggest that among many platforms WhatsApp seems to be the most widely used.

“Fake news is a bit of a misleading term, believes Pankaj Jain, one of India’s most active fake news slayers: Fake news can mean many things – a mistake, intentional misleading, twisting a news story, or fabricating a complete lie. In the past while media houses and credible journalists have been found to put out misleading stories and/or mistakes, the most damage is done by people, fake social media profiles, polarising websites, and pages which spread fake news intentionally for garnering votes and spreading hate,” Jain says. Out of all the channels through which fake news spreads, Jain, whose initiative, Social Media Hoax Slayer, blows the lid off of false information being passed around social media platforms, feels the biggest culprit is the instant messaging app, WhatsApp.” (Sachadeva, 2018)

This has a comparative resonance in, for example, South East Asia.

Karen Lema and other analysing the scenario observe that “most worrying to media rights advocates is that several countries are promoting new legislation or expanding existing regulations to make publishing fake news an offense. The fear is that, rather than focusing on false stories published on social media, authoritarian leaders will use the new laws to target legitimate news outlets that are critical of them.” (Lema, 2018)

Reference in academic literature to user-generated content (UGC) is indicative of a reversal of the overwhelming argument that media in their broadest form is more of an information push or downloadable factor rather than the user having a say. Social media platforms with UGC are examples that have upheld the user. Promising as it may be, it has also revealed an inherent pattern of groupism, territorialization, and affiliations along homogenous sets of ideas and practices. In diverse and plural contexts, this has caused concerns of furthering social schisms.

Has entertainment gone beyond the cartels and expanded? Uploading of one’s own form of entertainment is evident and nascent revenue and acceptance models can be worked out. A related but important aspect with regard to the Millennials is their familiarity and dexterous use of new media platforms. “Global total broadcast TV advertising revenue, consisting of multi-channel and terrestrial TV advertising revenues, accounted for 97.2% of global total TV advertising revenue in 2014. But as viewing continues to move away from traditional networks towards digital alternatives, advertisers will consider changing where they allocate their expenditure to reach desired demographic segments.” (PWC estimate)

While education in the formal sense is imbued with a host of debates of the public sector, commercialization, and privatization, a default faith is placed in the new media that can virtually bring “handheld” education to the millennials.  This is an area public and private sector education sector   intend to reach out through online education and learning options.

The extension models of higher education seem to suggest that this can be tapped to bring the skilled youth to the workforce. The transformative potential and better forms of content production and dissemination are immense. With telecoms in fierce competition and entertainment firms collaborating with them, the spread is vast. Do they contribute to the millennials forging ahead or is the latent disruption more than the potential build up to better contexts daunts us?

I am hopeful that the vast research and academic experience that each one of you brings to this conference helps us unravel the complexities and move forward.

Professor B P Sanjay

Note
(1). The growth of print media for example is explained by many factors including literacy, low subscription and newsstand rates, hyper localisation etc. The millennial specific dimension has not been captured in industry-supported surveys as they say 12+ years and do not stratify the base by age.

Report by Pacific Media Centre

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Talking journalist ‘targeting’ and Papuan media on World Press Freedom Day

Author profile: 

By Craig Major
School of Communication Studies Professor and Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie marked World Press Freedom Day last week with a seminar covering the “targeting” and killing of Journalists, as well as the state of the media in West Papua.

During a seminar on Friday 3 May to coincide with World Press Freedom Day, David spoke to the shocking statistics around journalists killed in the couse of duty worldwide.

““Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) [Reporters Without Borders] statistics showed 65 journalists were killed worldwide in 2017,” David said.. “Of the 65 journalists killed, 7 of these people were so-called citizen journalists.”

“Although this statistic showed a drop from the previous year, the growth of “hatred” for media and targeting of journalists was a worsening problem.”

Also on the seminar agenda was a discussion about the media “gags” affecting areas such as the Melanesian region of West Papua inside Indonesia.

“There are more and more independent journalists [in the region] that are disillusioned” David said. “These journalists are taking on the role of the ‘citizen journalist’ and publishing untold stories on their own blogs.”

David highlighted the work of Papua New Guinea-based journalist and Pacific Media Centre collaborator Scott Waide, who curates and publishes articles by independent journalists and citizens on his blog My Land, My Country. as an example of this phenomenon.  

The seminar was well-attended and the issues raised documented in a comprehensive post published on the Pacific Media Centre website.

Read the full post about the World Press Freedom Day seminar.

Read more about journalist targeting and killing during Free Media Week on the Pacific Media Centre website.

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Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie talking about media freedom and West Papua at Auckland University of Technology. Image: Khariah A. Rahman/PMC

Friday, May 11, 2018

Report by Pacific Media Centre

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Pacific nuclear activist-poet tells stories through culture – and her latest poem

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sylvia C. Frain reports from Hawai’i on the release of a poetry work focusing on the impact of nuclear activity in the Marshall Islands.

Nuclear activist, writer and poet Kathy Jetñil-Kijner from the Marshall Islands has launched her new poetry work which has a focus on nuclear weapons.

Her newest poem, “Anointed” can be seen as a short film by Dan Lin on YouTube.

At da Shop bookstore for the official launch of her poem, Jetñil-Kijner shared her writing process inspiration with the gathered audience.

“I knew this poem could not be a broad nuclear weapons poem, but I needed to narrow the focus,”  says Jetñil-Kijner.

The project, which has an aim to personalise the ban of nuclear weapons, began during a talk-story session with photojournalist Lin three years ago in a café.

Jetñil-Kijner told Lin that she wanted to perform a poem on the radioactive dome located on what remains of the Runit Island in the Enewetak Atoll Chain.

Lin, who before this project worked as “only a photojournalist,”  agreed to document this collaborative “experiment”.  Lin spoke of how Jetñil-Kijner’s previous poems  had the “Kathy effect” which were filmed with only an iPhone and went viral across digital platforms. 

However, they agreed that this story deserved more in-depth documentation.  They partnered with the non-profit organisation,  Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) and with the Okeanos Foundation, specialising in sustainable sea transport. Travelling by Walap/Vaka Motu/Ocean Canoe for 11 days, Okeanos Marshall Islands ensured that zero carbon emissions were used and the experience served as a way to connect with the sea.

Runit Island
The radioactive dome on Runit Island is one of 14 islands in the Enewetak Atoll Chain, and the farthest atoll in the Ralik chain of the Marshall Islands. Enewetak and surrounding area has been studied scientifically after the 43 nuclear bomb explosions (out of the 67 total nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands) by the United States between 1948-1958.

Dubbed the “Cactus Crater”, Runit Island has limited economic possibilities. It is not a tourist destination nor has ability to export goods. No one will visit or purchase products from a radioactive location. This leaves the community dependent on funding from the United States. While many are grateful, they truly want to self-sustaining future. 

While conducting research for the poem, Jetñil-Kijner found that most of the literature is scientific and by journalists or researchers who do not include the voices of the local community or share the end results. Jetñil-Kijner wanted to create a poem focusing on the story of place beyond the association as a bombing site, and ask, “what is the island’s story?”

She learned from the elders that the island was considered the “pantry of the chiefs with lush vegetation, watermelons, and strong trees to build canoes”. As one of the remote atolls, the community consisted of navigators and canoe-builders with a thriving canoe culture.

Both Lin and Jetñil-Kijner said visiting the atolls was emotional and that approaching the dome felt like “visiting a sick relative you never met”.

The voyage included community discussions with elders and a writing workshop with the youth. Since the story of the dome is not usually a “happy one” the gatherings and workshops served as a method for the people to tell their stories not covered in the media or reported in US government documents.

Creating the poem with the community also required different protocols and Jetñil-Kijner thanked the community for generously sharing their knowledge and stories. She spoke to how the video connects the local community with a global audience across digital platforms. 

Digital technology and the future
Despite the remote location and distance as an outer island, there is limited wi-fi and the community has access to Facebook. These technological advances help with visualising these previous unfamiliar spaces, including using a drone to capture aerial shots of the dome and the rows of replanted but radioactive coconut trees.

Supported by the Pacific Storytellers Cooperative, a digital platform for publishing Pacific voices, more young people are able to tell their stories online and foster relationships beyond the atoll.  

The newest generation is raising awareness through the incorporation of cultural knowledge combined with new media technologies to tell their stories. Empowered young leaders continue to unpack the layers of the nuclear legacy while highlighting their unique community and culture.

The Anointed poem and film serves as an educational resource to highlight the nuclear legacy and ongoing environmental issues in the Marshall Islands. This piece also promotes community justice and is a visual learning tool. Jetñil-Kijner and Lin encourage others to share Anointed and to join the call to action to ban nuclear weapons.

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MORE INFORMATION

CULTURE: Sylvia C. Frain: On Saturday, nuclear activist, writer and poet Kathy Jetñil-Kijner from the Marshall Islands launched her new poetry work which has a focus on nuclear weapons. Her newest poem, “Anointed” can be seen as a short film by Dan Lin on YouTube.

Nuclear activist and poet Kathy Jetñil-Kijner … exploring the “pantry of the chiefs with lush vegetation, watermelons, and strong trees to build canoes”. Image: Kathy Jetñil-Kijner

Report by Pacific Media Centre

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

PMC’s Bearing Witness 2018 crew arrive in Fiji

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: PMC’s Bearing Witness 2018 crew arrive in Fiji

Author profile: 

Touchdown Fiji … Last week: Our intrepid Pacific Media Centre Bearing Witness climate media team Blessen Tom (left below) and Hele Ikimotu Christopher prepping in Auckland before departure … Now: On the ground at the University of the South Pacific.

Full story

Climate change continues to take its toll on small island nations such as Kiribati and Tuvalu. Image: File – Kiribati in 2009. Jodie Gatfield/AusAID/Wansolwara

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Report by Pacific Media Centre

Climate change media tools helpful, but more Pacific indigenous perspectives needed

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Climate change media tools helpful, but more Pacific indigenous perspectives needed

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Sylvia Frain profiles the achievements and challenges of four days at the second Pacific Ocean Climate Change Conference,

Cyclone Gita interrupted the timely and relevant second Pacific Ocean Climate Change Conference held at Te Papa Tongarewa museum in Wellington last week.

I was fortunate to arrive on the last flight before Wellington Airport closed on Tuesday afternoon in anticipation for Gita’s arrival.

Many presenters and participants had their flights delayed or cancelled, which solidified the urgency and importance of the conference.

As independent researcher and keynote speaker Aroha Te Pareake Mead pointed out, Air New Zealand acknowledges the disruptions and increased storm activities and is currently working on developing digital solutions and asks its customers for patience and flexibility.

While the Pacific Media Centre featured several pieces highlighting speakers at the conference, the pre-conference workshops and public lecture set the tone for the next few days.

The gathering provided a platform for researchers and scientists, practitioners and state representatives to collaborate, share knowledge and plan for the future.

The Climate Change Media and Communication pre-conference workshop, facilitated by Dacia Herbulock, senior media advisor at the Science Media Centre, included media professionals, freelancers, and those using visual and written communications to convey the depth and urgency of climate change.

Visual stereotypes
The visual stereotypes and the challenges of long-term reporting in a fast-paced media environment dominated the discussion of how to best, and most appropriately, make a relatively “abstract” issue seem “real”.

Participants provided practical solutions, including creative strategies and diverse delivery mechanisms for academic researchers to produce text, audio, video, and used new media platforms to reach a wider audience.

Two examples are the interactive piece by Charlie Mitchell, “The Angry Sea Will Kill Us All: Our Disappearing Neighbours” on Stuff, organised in a new multimedia format.

The second online outlet is The Conversation, (the academic and journalism collaboration currently in Australia, and soon to be launched in New Zealand) which provides researchers and academics editorial support and the ability to track and evaluate the online publication’s reach and audience.

While these platforms are improving climate change reporting capabilities, there remains an urgent need to ensure that Pacific and indigenous perspectives are at the forefront directing climate change resiliency and adaption policies.

This is a reminder that current climate change is a contemporary manifestation of colonialism and the continued exploitation of stolen land and resources.

While Pacific and indigenous populations are not the leading contributors to emissions, they are on the frontlines experiencing the impacts disproportionally.

‘Discoveries’ already known
Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn highlighted how “a significant proportion of [scientific] ‘discoveries’” are not discoveries at all, but that “indigenous peoples already knew about many of these ‘scientific’ ideas”.

She called upon the Western scientific community to follow the example of the World Council of Churches, who in 2012 denounced the Doctrine of Discovery, and “denounce the ‘Doctrine of Scientific Discovery’ as it relates to indigenous knowledge”.

She also invited scientists, journalists, and policymakers “to build good faith collaborative partnerships with indigenous peoples so we can together explore ‘consciousness’ with a view to identifying ‘technologies’ that would help mitigate and adapt to climate crisis”.

She reminded the audience that Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

While the law and legal frameworks can be a tool to encourage states to make commitments to lower emissions and create national standards, there are limitations to enforcement and accountability.

During the pre-conference public lecture, Law as an Activism Strategy, Julian Aguon of Blue Ocean Law, spoke of how he “practices law for change” and “uses international human rights law for self-determination” for Guam.

His work is currently focused on deep sea mining, (DSM), an experimental and newly emerging form of mineral extraction.

The Pacific Region is seen as the “latest frontier” which is more politically stable with less potential for conflict than other mineral-rich regions of the globe.

However, the minerals are hundreds of kilometres under the sea – a region that is relatively unknown.

Aguon discussed how scientists know more about the moon’s surface than about deep sea ecologies, hydrothermal vents, and tectonic environments.

Asia Pacific Report coverage of the conference
 

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CLIMATE: Sylvia Frain: Cyclone Gita interrupted the timely and relevant second Pacific Ocean Climate Change Conference held at Te Papa Tongarewa museum in Wellington last week.

Dacia Herbulock, senior media advisor at the Science Media Centre,speaking at the media and climate change communication pre-conference workshop. Image: David Robie/PMC

Report by Pacific Media Centre

PMC’s chair Camille Nakhid’s research bolsters migrant communities

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: PMC’s chair Camille Nakhid’s research bolsters migrant communities

When School of Social Sciences Associate Professor Camille Nakhid at Auckland University of Technology was asked by the E Tū Whānau Project to assist in a research project to evaluate its domestic violence programme, she didn’t hesitate as she was aware of the prevalence of domestic violence among migrant and refugee communities.

Dr Nakhid, who is also chair of the PMC Pacific Media Centre’s Advisory Board, recognised that domestic violence impacted on people from a range of cultural and religious backgrounds, and sought the experiences of a diverse group.

She spoke with young African Muslim men and women, and Middle Eastern women based in Auckland as well as a group of Latin American mothers, among others.

“One common thread that was evident was a ‘culture of silence’ that stopped women in particular from speaking out due to the shame and stigma,” Dr Nakhid said.

“There is also the perception for men from migrant and refugee communities that their status is undermined, due to being a minority in New Zealand.”

In her research on these issues, Dr Nakhid found that the E Tū Whānau programme’s exploration of Kaupapa Māori was beneficial to addressing the issue of domestic violence in these communities.

“Many migrant and refugee communities share similar values to Māori,” Camille said. “Māori values of aroha, community and family are very much aligned with Latin American and Muslim communities – much more so than European values.”

“Looking at what Māori were doing to address domestic violence in their communities, from a Māori perspective, the E Tū Whānau movement, whose kaupapa is inclusive and quick to embrace refugee and migrant communities was invaluable to the migrant and refugee communities.”

“A big part of E Tū Whānau’s philosophy is strengths-based. There is a shift in focus from the largely negative messaging associated with domestic violence awareness campaigns, to a more positive one.” Dr Nakhid said.

She was recognised for services to ethnic communities and education in the 2018 New Years Honours List, becoming a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3

Report by Pacific Media Centre