PMC director reports on historic New Caledonia referendum 30 years on

By Craig Major of AUT Communications

Professor David Robie, Director of the Pacific Media Centre in the School of Communication Studies, has been part of the contingent of more than 100 journalists and media academics reporting on and analysing the historic New Caledonian independence referendum in early November. Only 2 out of the 100 were from New Zealand.

David was interviewed by Tokyo TV and other media and had several of his archival photos used in media such as SBS World News because of his specialist knowledge of the 1980s insurrection known locally as “les evenements” that led to the referendum 30 years later.

New Caledonians voted 56% against independence from France while the strong yes vote of 44% (the indigenous Kanaks are in a minority) has opened the door for delicate negotiations and two further referendums in 2020 and 2022.

Professor Robie authored a book in 1989, Blood On Their Banner: Nationalist Struggles in the South Pacific, published by Zed Books in London, which is widely cited today about the period, and a sequel in 2014 Don’t Spoil My beautiful face: Media, Mayhem & Human Rights in the Pacific.

He has also written several articles on the referendum and the events leading up to on Asia Pacific Report.

The Pacific Media Centre has had a busy month with coverage of the Fiji general election on November 14 in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific Journalism programme and also coverage of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in collaboration with EMTV News.

Postgraduate student Sri Krishnamurthi flew to Fiji to report on the election in partnership with USP’s Wansolwara student newspaper as a continuation of his International Journalism Project.

Read David’s articles on the Asia Pacific Report website

Report by Pacific Media Centre

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

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

PMC chair Camille Nakhid talks to TTT Live about ‘decolonising’ research

An international conference in the Caribbean this week focusing on critical thinking, interrogative discourse and rigorous research has featured the Pacific Media Centre chair.

Associate Professor Camille Nakhid, of AUT’s School of Social Sciences, who is also chair of the PMC advisory board, with one of her PhD students, Annabel Fernandez of Cuba, also appeared on the Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT) programme Now.

On the theme of shifting from Eurocentric approaches to research to Caribbean ways of knowing, they discussed the use of Caribbean research methodology in her thesis.

Keynote speaker at the two-day conference on the Valsayn campus of the University of Trinidad and Tobago was Dr Kassie Freeman, senior adviser to the provost and senior research fellow at the Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York.

She is also founding president and CEO of the African Diaspora Consortium (ADC), a global organisation with a mission to positively impact on economic, educational, and artistic opportunities and outcomes across the African diaspora, with a particular focus on populations dispersed during the transatlantic slave trade.

Conference website

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’

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Report by Pacific Media Centre

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

‘We cannot footnote our way to freedom’

The Pacific Media Centre’s Dr Sylvia C. Frain talks to human rights lawyer Julian Aguon, who recently won a landmark case in the Guam Supreme Court upholding the separation of powers doctrine, on issues ranging from law school and social justice to indigenous peoples and the right of self-determination in Guam, West Papua and beyond.

SF: Talk about law school. Did you like it? Do you have horror stories? Do you recommend it to others, to young people?
 
JA: It’s…complicated. When one enters that particular arena as a politicised person, it can be a bit difficult, logistically, to momentarily suspend reality as you know it and make like a blank slate. I mean, there is a kind of unspoken understanding, at least among the establishment professors, that the best kind of students are those who offer themselves up freely for the filling, like receptacles for the pouring in of conventional wisdom. Activists, on the other hand you know, often go to law school because we realise that the law is a particular kind of institution, or knowledge, around which some high walls have been built, at least in part to keep us out. The law is a skill set but also a vocabulary, even a weapon, so often deployed against those most in need of its protection. So for us the whole experience can be dicey. But if you’re lucky a light goes on. Once you get past the insularity of the universe that is law school, you realise you can use what you brought in with you. You know that the law is not neutral because it is always already a moving train, and you know you can’t be neutral on those things. Like any tool in human hands, it can be used for any end, for the amassing of private wealth and power, or for the greater common good. Once you get that, you’re good. You drop your shoulders and get to work.
 
SF: Well when you first went to law school, did you know you wanted to be a human rights lawyer?
 
JA: Yes. I could think of no better way to use the law than in defence of vulnerable communities – namely colonised and indigenous peoples, here in the Pacific but elsewhere too. Indigenous peoples, you know, are key. They have inherited worldviews that stretch so far back in time and space … worldviews that predate the neoliberalist one bringing this planet to the brink of disaster. So they have part of the answer, indigenous peoples do, to the question of what to do to get us out of this mess we’ve made. Also they represent that subset of humankind most directly connected to the physical world, and are consequently the most vulnerable to the vandalism visited upon it. Ensuring their maximal legal protection, you know … ensuring that they’re able to thrive in their ancestral spaces, is urgent, one of the urgent tasks of our time.
 
SF: So you are now an attorney with your own firm? Can you tell us about that?
 
JA: That’s right. Yes, sorry. I live and work on Guam. I started Blue Ocean Law, a small firm that works to advance the rights of non-self-governing and indigenous peoples in the Pacific. We’ve worked with a range of clients on a host of issues, many of which have human rights components. We began mostly … in Micronesia, but have grown. The attorneys I have the pleasure of working with are pretty incredible in their own right. There’s Julie Hunter, who has taken a lead role in our work in Melanesia, around the emerging extractive industry of deep sea mining, which threatens to adversely impact communities in the region. She also runs our internship programme, overseeing law student interns from Harvard, Stanford, Yale, UCLA [University of California Los Angeles], and UH [University of Hawai’i]. There’s also Clement Yow-Mulalap, who splits his time between New York and his home island, Yap. He specialises in international environmental law, particularly climate change, and is helping to develop our analytical framework on that front.  
 
SF: Yes I know you folks are doing a ton of work on deep sea mining. You had an article published last month in the Harvard Environmental Law Review on the subject, but also you had a report called “Resource Roulette.” Can you speak more about deep sea mining? Why is it important and what’s at stake for Pacific Islanders?
 
JA: So deep sea mining is this new extractive industry that’s proceeding around the world without sufficient safeguards, either for the environment or for the people most likely to be impacted by it. As we speak, corporations and countries alike are scrambling to secure rights to explore and exploit vast tracks of the international seabed. You know it’s even being called the new global gold rush. And the thing is most of it’s happening in the Pacific. Look, one Canadian company has already applied for exploration rights to over half a million square kilometres of the seafloor surrounding Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and I believe also New Zealand. So it’s important because industry proponents are touting the whole thing as lucrative and low-risk, which it isn’t. We’ve talked to the people, you know? We’ve worked with community-based organisations in affected areas, who themselves have done real field work, on the ground, and are reporting a host of adverse impacts. The stories coming in paint a different picture.
 
SF: So most of your work is in Micronesia and Melanesia. Do you have any plans to expand to Polynesia too? I know you went to law school in Hawai’i.
 
JA: Well, technically, you could say my work as a law scholar, if not a practising attorney, already touches part of Polynesia. I authored the international law chapter in the recently released second edition of the legal treatise on Native Hawaiian rights, and before that I authored a piece I’m particularly proud of, entitled “The Commerce of Recognition (Buy One Ethos, Get One Free),” a rather ambitious law article on the viability of the three main redress regimes available under international law, normatively I mean, for the recovery of Hawai’ian independence.
 
SF: I’m sure you’re asked this a lot but what’s been the most important case you’ve worked on? Which is the one you feel most passionate about?

 
JA: That would have to be Davis v. Guam, a case I’m litigating at the moment. The case threatens to effectively deny the native inhabitants of Guam from exercising their fundamental right of self-determination in accordance with law. Davis is a case that reaches the heights of cynicism. At bottom, the legal argument constructed there is that virtually any American who moves to the American colony of Guam is legally entitled to cast a vote in the island’s long-awaited self-determination plebiscite. To deny any such person the vote, the argument goes, is unconstitutional race-based discrimination violative of, among others, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. This case is not only counter-historical, it’s absurd. Decolonisation is a remedy for the colonised. Not those who hail squarely from the coloniser. Not only that but the challenged classification itself is not a racial one in the first place. This case is … I mean, it pains me more than the others because I see it as the latest distortion of an already deeply distorted equal protection jurisprudence that seems ever more concerned with protecting only those not actually in need of protection.
 
SF: The case is about self-determination?
 
JA: Right.
 
SF: So your bio says you’re a UN-recognised expert in self-determination. I was wondering if you would, or could you just explain what the right of self-determination is?
 
JA: Under international law, self-determination is the right of peoples to be free … from colonisation, alien subjection and domination. Traditionally, the right has been understood as namely applying to colonized and occupied peoples, though the content of the right has been filled out progressively over time, with new fact patterns emerging which have stretched the right beyond its initial scope, like South African apartheid. No norm of international law comes close to matching the liberatory heft of self-determination. It is singularly responsible for the liberation of literally hundreds of millions of human beings. It is also the promise that stirs the hearts of those whose homelands remain on the UN list of non-self-governing territories, like my own, Guam.
 
SF: But aren’t there colonies not on the UN list that also have the right of self-determination?

 
JA: Absolutely. West Papua, perhaps because of the … well, the bloodshed, is the first example that comes to mind. There is no doubt in any international lawyer’s mind that the people of West Papua have the right of self-determination, and that that colony should be formally, and immediately, slated for an act of decolonisation. Despite Indonesia’s claims to the contrary, in no universe was the infamous 1969 plebiscite a valid exercise of self-determination. And let’s not, you know, be confused here. The legal status of West Papua, or any colony for that matter, is determined by international law, not the list. The situation in West Papua is … just so acutely troubling because of what we know … that the denial of self-determination is but one of many forms of state-sanctioned violence. Our sisters and brothers there are suffering horrendously.
 
SF: As you know, I’ve spent time here on Guam, doing research, meeting people. One of the things you hear when you interview people about Guam’s colonial status is the argument that Guam can’t be that colonised because Congress allowed Guam to create its own laws. How do you respond to that?
 
JA: Guam may enact its own laws, but you see, those laws may be undone by Congress. Per the terms of the Organic Act of Guam of 1950, in Title 48 of the US Code, the laws of Guam are subject, as is the entire government of Guam itself, to complete defeasance by Congress. As they say, what Congress giveth, Congress can taketh away. This is the lynchpin of the colonial relationship. To be sure, I’m being somewhat simplistic, but I think there’s something to that, actually. I think too many scholars are lost looking for life everlasting at the end of an elaborate footnote. We cannot footnote our way to freedom. But anyway there are times, usually times of crises, when the evidence of our colonial condition is just too plain to deny, when the truth just sits there in the scorching sun. Like Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. These national moments of reckoning burn our illusion.
 
SF: On that note, what do you think about the Pacific? When you look out at the Blue Continent, as you like to call it, what gives you hope?
 
JA: Vanuatu … Vanuatu is leading us. In some pretty significant ways, Vanuatu has emerged as a leader among our nations. From its consistent showing of solidarity with the people of West Papua to its principled, precautionary stance on deep sea mining, Vanuatu has been shining a light for others to follow. Also, the Marshall Islands has given the world several reasons to smile. From leading global climate change negotiations to taking on the nuclear nine in the ICJ, the Marshallese are punching way above their weight. And that is something. They keep proving the point that smallness is a state of mind. Lastly, you know, well I guess, is just the people themselves. There is such a breadth of beauty in our communities. I mean, Papua New Guinea alone, what range! One need only see a Highlands headdress to know what I’m talking about, to be reminded of the beauty and variety of this region, to want to fight for it.

More information:
Blue Ocean Law
Broadening common heritage: Addressing gaps in the deep sea mining regulatory regime – Harvard Environmental Law Review
Blue Ocean Law/Pacific Network on Globalisation “Resource Roulette” report

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.

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

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

About the Pacific Media Centre

Author profile: 

Informed journalism and media research

Informed journalism and media research contributes to economic, political and social development and AUT University’s Pacific Media Centre – Te Amokura – seeks to stimulate research into contemporary Māori, Pasifika and ethnic diversity media and culture production.

The PMC, founded in 2007, also collaborates with other Asia-Pacific media centres engaged in research and cultural production and develops cultural and research publications, building on the success of the peer-reviewed publication Pacific Journalism Review , media freedom project Pacific Media Watch and current affairs websites Pacific Scoop and Asia Pacific Report.

The PMC mission
The Pacific Media Centre’s mission as one of the five components of the Creative Industries Research Institute (CIRI) and in the School of Communication Studies is based on the belief that robust and informed journalism and media research contributes to economic, political and social development in the region.

PMC goals include:

   1. undertaking and stimulating research into contemporary Māori, Pacific, Asia-Pacific and ethnic diversity media and culture production
   2. raising Aotearoa/New Zealand research capability in the area of diversity media production
   3. presenting and publishing the findings of media research
   4. winning funding from government and industry partners that support research into media production
   5. developing collaborations and relationships with other Asia-Pacific centres of research excellence in media and cultural production
   6. developing social change and development communication editorial and publications capability, including Pacific Journalism Review, Pacific Media Centre Online and Asia Pacific Report.

Asia-Pacific Journalism courses

PMC in the Human Rights Commission’s Te Ranga Tahi diversity project

PMC collaborating partners

PMC on Communications Initiative Network

Research students

PMC as a Creative Commons case study

PMC Logo
The PMC logo’s linear design draws on the traditional tapa to represent awareness, respect, strength and the personality of the Pacific region and its people. The colour range in the typography connects tradition with the fast and modern world of media using red, green and blue – the RGB mode in any screen application. The use of different tones symbolises the variety and individuality of Pasifika media. The logo was designed by postgraduate student Patricia Burgetsmaier in AUT’s School of Art and Design.

Te Amokura
The red-tailed tropic bird, Phaethon rubricauda, is found throughout the Pacific, including the North Island of Aotearoa/New Zealand. There is a breeding colony in the Kermadec Islands and others found as far north as the Hawai’i Islands. It is a bird with white feathers, a red bill and two long thin red streamers. It has a black eye streak. Red-tailed tropic birds are remarkable seabirds displaying their two elongated central tail feathers during courtship flight displays at their breeding colonies. The centre’s te reo name Te Amokura symbolises the spread of messages throughout Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa. The metaphorical name has been contributed by Dr John Moorfield, Professor of Māori Innovation and Development with AUT’s Te Ara Poutama.

2017 PMC brochure

PMC Annual Report 2017 – 10 Years

Informed journalism and media research contributes to economic, political and social development.

PMC’s Henry Yamo (right) interviews West Papuan social justice advocate Benny Wenda. Del Acede/PMC

Report by Pacific Media Centre

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media