Trauma research on TV journalists covering killings revealed in Pacific Journalism Review

Part of the cover of the latest Pacific Journalism Review. Image: © Fernando G Sepe Jr/ABS-CBN

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

The statistics globally are chilling. And the Asia-Pacific region bears the brunt of the killing of journalists with impunity disproportionately.

Revelations in research published in the latest edition of Pacific Journalism Review on the trauma experienced by television journalists in the Philippines covering President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called ‘war on drugs’ are deeply disturbing.

More than 12,000 people have reportedly been killed – according to Amnesty International, although estimates are unverified – in the presidential-inspired purge.

READ MORE: Killing the messenger

The latest Pacific Journalism Review.

According to UNESCO, about 1,010 journalists globally have been “killed for reporting the news and bringing information to the public” in the 12 years until 2017 – or on average, one death every four days.

Many argue that the Philippines, with one of the worst death tolls of journalists in the past decade, is a prime example of the crisis.


Journalists covering the “graveyard shift” were the first recorders of violence and brutality under Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

The first phase in 2016, called Oplan Tokhang, was executed ruthlessly and relentlessly.

Chilling study
This chilling post-traumatic stress study in the latest PJR by ABS-CBN news executive Mariquit Almario-Gonzalez examines how graveyard-shift TV journalists experienced covering Oplan Tokhang.

The Tagalog phase in English means “to knock and plead” and was supposed to be bloodless – a far cry from the reality.

Almario-Gonzalez’s colleague, award-winning photographer Fernando G Sepe Jr, has also contributed an associated photoessay drawn from his groundbreaking ‘Healing The Wounds From the Drug War’ gallery.

He reflects on the impact of Duterte’s onslaught on the poor in his country.

Compared to the Philippines and other Asian countries – such as Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar – media freedom issues in the Pacific micro states and neighbouring Australia and New Zealand may appear relatively benign – and certainly not life threatening.

Nevertheless, the Pacific faces growing media freedom challenges.

The phosphate Micronesian state of Nauru banned the Australian public broadcaster ABC and “arrested” Television New Zealand Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver while she covered the Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in September 2018.

Media freedom crises
In this context, Auckland University of Technology’s Pacific Media Centre marked its tenth anniversary in November 2017 with a wide-ranging public seminar discussing critical media freedom crises.

The “Journalism Under Duress in Asia-Pacific” seminar examined media freedom and human rights in the Philippines and in Indonesia’s Papua region – known as West Papua.

Keynote speakers included Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) executive director Malou Mangahas and RNZ Pacific senior journalist Johnny Blades.

Papers from this seminar and 14 other contributing researchers from seven countries on topics ranging from the threats to the internet, post-conflict identity, Pacific media freedom and journalist safety are featured in this edition of PJR.

Unthemed paper topics include representations of Muslims in New Zealand, ASEAN development journalism, US militarism in Micronesia and the reporting of illegal rhino poaching for the Vietnamese market.

The issue has been edited by Professor David Robie, director of the PMC, Khairiah A. Rahman of AUT, and Dr Philip Cass of Unitec. The designer was Del Abcede.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Journalist Yasmine Ryan’s death in Istanbul ‘fall’ shocks colleagues

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Journalist Yasmine Ryan’s death in Istanbul ‘fall’ shocks colleagues

Yasmine Ryan demonstrating her skills at work in Solomon Islands … she was devoted to human rights. Image: Jason Dorday/Scoop

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

A New Zealand journalist and associate of the Pacific Media Centre has been killed in a fall from a building in Istanbul, reports the Turkish-based news service TRT World.

Media industry sources have cited police as treating the death of Yasmine Ryan, 34, in a five-storey fall as “suspicious”.

Her death has shocked colleagues and friends around the world.

A colleague, Ashfaaq Carim, at TRT World said Ryan had left behind a “rich legacy of stories that have left a deep impact on people and journalists”.

“This morning, I woke up to the tragic news that a trusted friend, colleague, and fellow journalist, Yasmine Ryan, had passed away,” he wrote in a TRT opinio0n blog.

“I have been blessed to know Yasmine for more than eight years. Throughout she had been an epitome of courage,” he wrote.


“A selfless human. A fearless woman.”

Tragedy at friend’s house
The journalist was staying at a friend’s house when the tragedy happened, according to news reports.

“The pair had retired for the day and gone to sleep in separate rooms. The friend was awoken at 2.20pm by a noise,” said The New Zealand Herald.

“They discovered an open window and Ryan on the ground below.

RT World reported emergency services were called but declared her dead at the scene.

Police were now investigating the death.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said the ministry was aware of the death of a New Zealander in Istanbul and was providing consular assistance to the family.

Zaoui book
One of her colleagues in New Zealand, independent journalist Selwyn Manning, recalls her early work in a collaborative book,  I Almost Forgot About The Moon – about the disinformation campaign against refugee Algerian theologian Ahmed Zaoui.

“Her research and writing of various chapters in the book were so exact and thorough,” Manning said.

“Her passion for human rights shone through and led her, I believe, to pursue a career reporting in North Africa and the Middle East.

“Early on, when I was editor of Scoop, I assigned her to report in the Solomons when unrest became evident after some arson attacks in Honiara.

“We flew her and Jason Dorday up there to cover events. She immediately was in her element.”

Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie described Ryan as one of the most professional New Zealand journalists he had encountered working as a foreign correspondent.

He paid tribute to her Arab Spring reportage from Tunisia for Al Jazeera.

“Her reporting broke the mould and alerted the world to the forces of would-be change heralded by the Arab Spring, even if the early hopes dwindled in the end.”

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Police brutally attack Papuan journalist in Timika, says human rights group

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: Police brutally attack Papuan journalist in Timika, says human rights group

Journalist Saldi Hermanto … attacked for making social media criticisms of police conduct in Timika, Papua. Image: Tabloid Jubi

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has condemned a brutal attack against journalist Saldi Hermanto in Timika, Papua, and called for a campaign of letter protests.

Hermanto was attacked by the police after he criticised on Facebook the police handling of security at an entertainment show he attended.

Although the Mimika police chief pledged to “properly settle” the case, the public and media should monitor and ensure that the case was not merely settled by the internal police mechanism, AHRC said in a statement.

“The perpetrators must be criminally prosecuted,” it said.

AHRC’s case narrative said that on Saturday, 11 November 2017, at 10:50 pm, journalist Saldi Hermanto and his child were enjoying an entertainment show in the night market of Timika Indah, Papua.

As the show was going on, suddenly there was chaos among the audience. Subsequently, Hermanto wrote on his Facebook wall criticising the police failure to secure the entertainment show and guarantee security for visitors.


Hermanto’s criticism angered the police officers, some of whom felt he had humiliated and offended the police institution.

Search for journalist
Some six to eight police officers of Mimika Police Office (Polres Mimika), then searched for Hermanto.

Finally, they found him in a small post where many journalists usually gather and send news to various media, located in front of the Mimika Traffic Police Unit of Mimika Police Office (Kantor Satuan Lalu Lintas Polres Mimika).

The police officers then brutally attacked Hermanto, they beat him repeatedly and brought him inside the integrated police post, the AHRC report said.

“The brutal attack caused serious injuries on Hermanto’s face and right rib, and Hermanto had difficulty breathing after the attack,” the report said.

On November 13, at 9 a.m. Timika journalists from the Association of Online Media (IWO) Timika and from the Association of Journalist Photo Indonesia (PFI) Timika organised a peaceful protest in front of the Mimika Police Office in Cendrawasih Street.

The protesters demanded that the chief of oolice of Mimika Police Office, Police Superintendent (AKBP) Viktor Dean Mackbon, “fairly and properly investigate” the brutal attack and violence against Saldi Hermanto, a journalist of Salam Papua and Okezone.

In responding to the protest, AKBP Dean Mackbon stated that nine of 13 police officers who had been examined, were detained for further investigation related to the attack.

Two investigations
In addition, AKBP Victor stated that the there would be two investigation processes, both internal and criminal prosecution. He also apologised to the journalists and promised to settle the case.

The AHRC notes that violence against journalists continues in Indonesia.

Another recent case occurred on 20 October 2017, when police brutally attacked Panji Bahari, a journalist of Banten Post in Banten province.

According to the Independence Journalist Alliance (AJI) Indonesia, in 2016 there were 78 cases of violence and attacks against journalists. This is a higher number compared to 2015, in which 40 cases of violence and attacks against journalists were recorded.

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IFJ blasts ‘press freedom attack’ on Iranian-Kurdish journalist in PNG

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Headline: IFJ blasts ‘press freedom attack’ on Iranian-Kurdish journalist in PNG

Two PNG police officers led away Behrouz Boochani in handcuffs on Manus Island earlier today. Image: Aziz58825713/Twitter

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) in condemning the reported arrest of Iranian-Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani by Papua New Guinea police earlier today.

The IFJ and MEAA have deplored the arrest as a targeted attack on press freedom by Papua New Guinea’s police.

A police operation was launched on Manus Island with PNG police and immigration officers entering the former Australian detention centre.

The centre was closed three weeks ago, but refugees have refused to leave, due to concerns over their safety.

Large numbers of officers, including the paramilitary police mobile squad unit entered the grounds and told the refugees they had an hour to leave. They tried to confiscate mobile phones and reportedly damaged personal belongings.

Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian-Kurdish journalist, was arrested during the raid, with reports that officers were specifically looking for him.


Silencing a critic
He was led away in handcuffs by two police officers.

Boochani has been in the detention centre on Manus Island since August 2013.

Boochani has been a main source of factual information about the conditions inside Manus Island detention centre, with his reports been published in Australia and internationally.

Earlier this year he was shortlisted in the journalism category for the 2017 Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards and just three weeks ago he was awarded the Amnesty International Australia Media Award for his journalism from Manus Island.

Earlier this year, MEAA and the IFJ launched a campaign with IFEX calling on the Australian government to resettle Boochani in Australia.

MEAA chief executive Paul Murphy said: “If, as the case appears to be, he has been targeted and arrested because of his profile and his role as a journalist in an attempt to silence him, this is an egregious attack on press freedom that cannot be let stand.

“We call on the Australian and PNG governments to release him from custody, assure his safety, and not to hinder him from continuing to perform his role as a journalist.”

The IFJ said: “The arrest of Behrouz Boochani, if it is because of his work as journalist, is a blatant attack of press freedom and an attempt to silence a critical voice. We join MEAA in calling for the Australian and PNG governments to release him for custody immediately, and guarantee his safety.

“Journalists should never be stopped from doing their work.”

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