Royals talk empowerment, gender and climate advocacy with USP students

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex outside the University of the South Pacific’s Japan-Pacific ICT Centre on Laucala campus in Suva. Image: Wansolwara

By Mereoni Mili in Suva

Meeting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in person was a humbling experience this week for specially selected students from the University of the South Pacific, including two first-year student journalists Apenisa Vatuniveivuke and Dhruvkaran Nand.

Vatuniveivuke, who is an undergraduate student majoring in journalism and law, said he was pleased to be one of 10 students from the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education chosen to speak with the royal couple about their involvement in empowerment projects, women’s development and climate change advocacy.

“I was in the second group on youth leadership to meet the Duchess of Sussex. We were introduced to the Duchess by her escort,” he says.

“But we had a chance to speak to her. I introduced myself, my area of study and the work I was engaged in with civil society organisations and political parties especially working to get young people’s voices in national discussions,.”

“And she said, ‘Oh, that’s so wonderful. I think more young people should get involved’.

“We had a small display about a marginal man – half-Pacific Islander and half-modernist. Our message through that was to show when we come to USP, we come to get educated but at the same time we try not to forget our culture.

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“We were advocating on those types of platforms to ensure that when young people are educated they won’t forget where they’re from. The Duchess of Sussex’s reaction to our theme was wonderful.

‘Broke a bit of protocol’
“She was very receptive. We broke a bit of protocol by having a group photo taken. We were briefed not to do that but she actually agreed to have a group photo.”

Other student journalists were in the audience to witness the inaugural speeches while other journalism alumni were part of the accredited media team covering the royal tour in Fiji.

Solomon Islands student Cynthia Hou, 22, was another youth leader who was given an opportunity to meet the Duchess.

Solomon Islands student Cynthia Hou (middle) is flanked by friends at USP’s Laucala campus. Image: Mereoni Mili/Wansolwara

“It was an overwhelming experience because I’ve only seen her in magazines and on television. She encouraged me to continue the work I’m doing and to look into issues facing the Pacific.

“It was like a dream that went by so fast but the feeling is indescribable,” she said.

Another student, Sheenal Chand, 20, dubbed her encounter with the royals as an “amazing experience”.

Youth empowerment
“It was one I never thought would be so good. I spoke to her about the youth empowerment work I’m involved in and how our voices as young people can make a difference especially when highlighting issues such as climate change,” Chand said.

Inside the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre, the couple witnessed a cultural performance on the effects of climate change in the Pacific by Oceania Dance group.

They were hosted by the Queen’s Young Leader Elisha Azeemah Bano and the Commonwealth Youth Award recipient Elvis Kumar, two outstanding USP students.

The event was live streamed to several USP campuses in the region.

Mereoni Mili is a final-year journalism student at the University of the South Pacific’s Laucala campus reporting for Wansolwara. She was one of 250 students chosen to be part of the audience inside the USP Japan ICT Lecture Theatre. Wansolwara and the Pacific Media Centre have a content sharing partnership.

USP Journalism student Apenisa Vatuniveivuke was one of 10 students from USP’s Faculty of Arts, Law and Education chosen to meet the royal couple at Laucala campus. Image: Wansolwara

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

MASI aims to develop regional journalism with USP boost

Media Association of Solomon Islands president Charles Kadamana, a University of the South Pacific journalism alumni, with wantok student journalists Rosalie Nongebatu (left) and joint top award winner Elizabeth Osifelo. Image: Harrison Selmen/Wansolwara

By Geraldine Panapasa in Suva

The Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) plans to work closely with the University of the South Pacific journalism programme to develop journalists in the region, says president Charles Kadamana.

Kadaman, a senior journalist with the Solomon Star daily newspaper, says past collaboration with USP Journalism has been successful, including a recent week-long training on anti-corruption reporting in the Solomon Islands.

He said the training was timely as the Solomon Islands government was in the process of debating the Anti-Corruption Bill.

USP 50 YEARS

“In Solomon Islands, there are about 36 USP journalism alumni now holding top jobs in the media industry, the government and in the private sectors,” said Kadamana, who was a guest at last week’s 18th USP Journalism Students Awards ceremony at Laucala campus in Suva.

“Looking at the list of journalism alumni, it is evident that the USP journalism programme has produced a lot of communications professionals in different areas contributing to our countries.

“Fiji and other Pacific countries also have USP journalism alumni in top posts.

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“Today, there is growing interest of journalists studying at USP. I am also happy to see the number of students from Solomon Islands is increasing.”

Dominated awards
Eleven student journalists are currently with the USP programme and they dominated the awards.

As educated young people, Kadamana encouraged student journalists to take up leadership roles, adding taking up journalism was not an easy task.

“There will be people who will stab you in the back. To avoid disaster, all you have to do is produce the results.

“Do not be the person who only wants the position for status and glory,” Kadamana said.

The USP journalism alumni said the university had been the breeding ground for nurturing future journalists to meet the needs of the region during the past 50 years.

Wansolwara News and the Pacific Media Centre have a content sharing arrangement.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

‘Be courageous in your quest for truth,’ journalism academic tells graduates

Professor David Robie presenting the Best Mobile Journalism Documentary prize sponsored by Internews and Earth Journalism Network at the annual University of the South Pacific journalism awards. Pictured is Kirisitiana Uluwai of Fiji in the runner-up team. Image: Harrison Selmen/Wansolwara

By Geraldine Panapasa in Suva

Pacific journalism academic Professor David Robie believes the media play a critical role in exposing abuses of power in a world increasingly hostile towards journalists.

However, journalists in the Pacific are frequently “persecuted by smallminded politicians with scant regard for the role of the media”, he says.

Speaking at last week’s 18th University of the South Pacific (USP) Journalism Student Awards ceremony at Laucala campus in Suva, Fiji, Dr Robie said despite the growing global dangers surrounding the profession, journalism was critically important for democracy.

READ MORE: David Robie’s full USP journalism awards ‘media phobia’ speech

USP 50 YEARS

Dr Robie said while such “ghastly fates” for journalists – such as the extrajudicial killing of Saudi dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey earlier this month – may seem remote in the Pacific, there were plenty of attacks on media freedom to contend with, while trolls in the region and state threats to internet freedom were “also rife”.

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

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“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.”

Professor David Robie presenting a Te Matau a Maui – Mau’s fishhook – to USP journalism coordinator Dr Shailendra Singh for the newsroom to mark the “NZ connection”. Image: Harrison Selmen/Wansolwara

Tribute to whistleblowers
Dr Robie also paid tribute to two whistleblowers and journalists in the Pacific.

“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,” Dr Robie said.

“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.”

Professor Robie is the 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 the news website Asia Pacific Report. He is a former USP Journalism Coordinator 1998-2002.

Geraldine Panapasa is editor-in-chief of USP’s Wansolwara journalism newspaper.

Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie and MASI president Charles Kadamana with graduating student journalists at the University of the South Pacific. Image: Harrison Selmen/Wansolwara

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Vanuatu student journalist launches first poetry collection and aims higher

Telstar Jimmy with her poetry book Journey of Truth at USP’s Laucala campus in Suva … now keen to help others publish. Image: Harrison Selmen/Vanuatu Daily Post

By Harrison Selmen in Suva, Fiji

Vanuatu student journalist Telstar Jimmy launched her first poetry book in Fiji last week and vows bigger plans ahead to to help boost publishing in her country.

Although it took her several years to achieve her passion, Jimmy was proud that everyone around her is enjoying the moment.

“I feel relieved that I was finally able to publish, and overjoyed that I can now be able to share my poems with others – not just in Vanuatu but in the Pacific, because friends from Solomon Islands, Fiji and Nauru have already started buying the book and giving me a lot of positive feedback on it,” she says.

Jimmy’s plan now is to find other poets in Vanuatu and promote their work in anthology collection that can give them recognition.

“I know many have the potential but they lacked the opportunity to shine and share their stories,” she says.

While on the verge of completing her Bachelor degree at the University of the South Pacific majoring in journalism and language and literature at the end of this year, the launch of her book marks a double highlight in her academic journey.

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The title of the book is Journey of Truth with four chapters and 76 pages.

Oceanic views
The poems cover global issues, oceanic views of the Pacific, family values and love stories.

She says the title of the book reflects the many stories in the book depicting real life events and journeys of life.

When asked who inspired her develop her poetry and why she decided to write a book, Jimmy answers, “Grace Molisa [an acclaimed ni-Vanuatu politician, poet and campaigner for women’s equality in politics] was my big inspiration … but then she passed away so soon”.

She said one of the main reasons to publish the book is to create a resource for Vanuatu generations with the Oceania and Pacific context.

As a mother of three children and mentor for many young Vanuatu students at Laucala during her three years of study, Telstar Jimmy describes the poems as a voice for all the silenced women – especially in a male-dominated country like Vanuatu.

Many student journalists at USP have posted messages on social media to congratulate the Vanuatu journalist for her poetic talents.

“Writing was fun and easy but publishing was quiet hard,” she says, thanking her family for funding her publication in Fiji.

Never give up
Jimmy’s message to her peers is never give up in life, even if it takes many years to achieve their dream.

“Don’t neglect the potential that you have.”

She thanked her families, especially her parents, siblings, children and husband for their support.

“Not forgetting Tony Alvero and Jerome Robert for the artistic designs, my English teachers at Malapoa and literature lecturers at USP, colleagues and friends and most importantly the almighty God for the wisdom and blessings,” she says.

  • Telstar Jimmy featured in a Pacific Media Centre climate change video last year by AUT student journalists Julie Cleaver and Kendall Hutt. Asia Pacific Report has a content sharing arrangement with Vanuatu Daily Post.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Solomon Islands students impressive at 18th USP journalism awards

Fiji Sun managing editor business Maraia Vula (middle) flanked by USP Journalism coordinator Dr Shailendra Singh (left), joint winners Koroi Tadulala and Elizabeth Osifelo and Professor David Robie (right). Image: Harrisson Selmen/Wansolwara

By Wansolwara Staff

Solomon Islands student journalists impressed at the annual University of the South Pacific media awards marking the 50th year of the Fiji-based regional institution.

The 18th USP student journalist awards on Friday night featured 14 prizes and more than $6000 in cash awards for excellence in journalism.

Solomon Islands students collected seven awards.

USP’s 50 YEARS

Final-year journalism students Elizabeth Osifelo from the Solomon Islands, who is also president of the Journalism Students Association, and Koroi Tadulala from Fiji scooped the premier award, Tanoa Award for the Most Outstanding Journalism Students, sponsored by Fiji Sun.

“The most important thing for us is being a responsible journalist – journalism has taught us not be passive but active – to pay attention to detail, to always be on your feet and to ask questions,” said Osifelo, who was in New Zealand earlier this year and visited AUT’s Pacific Media Centre and other news sites on a Pacific Cooperation Foundation scholarship.

“We learnt that we must read to develop our thinking.

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“At USP, we learnt that as journalists, we have a very important role to play in society. We got first-hand experience by reporting for our Wansolwara newspaper and website.

More confident
“Some of us came to USP fresh out of school with no skills or experience. After three years, we are much more experienced, far more confident and more ready than ever before to take on the world.

“We are sad to be leaving but we will remain family, no matter where in the world we end up.”

The Pacific Media Centre’s Professor David Robie speaking on the contemporary dangers of journalism. Image: Harrisson Selmen/Wansolwara

Keynote speaker Professor David Robie, director of AUT’s Pacific Media Centre, spoke about the global dangers for journalists and reflected on his time at the university when he set up the USP Journalism Students Awards.

“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,” he said.

“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.

Filipino students protest over the killings in the presidential “war on drugs”. Image: From Dr Robie’s “future of journalism” awards talk

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.”

MASI president
USP journalism alumni and president of the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI), Charles Kadamana, was also a guest speaker at the event.

MASI president Charles Kadamana (right) on the USP journalism awards night. Image: Harrisson Selmen/Wansolwara

He said the awards event was a fitting occasion for USP’s 50th anniversary.

“To those who received awards, I congratulate you. You deserve it. For others, do not be discouraged, rather you should be motivated to do better next time,” he said at the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies pavilion where the event was held.

“USP, over the past 50 years, has been the breeding ground for nurturing future journalists to meet the needs of the region. Many graduates have taken up leadership role within the government, private sectors, institutions and in the media industry.

“My message to students is that you carry a big responsibility. My advice is to make good use of your time while studying at USP. Every year thousands of students across the region struggle to secure scholarships to pursue journalism as a career so you should regard yourselves as the luckiest ones.”

Part of the crowd at the USP journalism awards. Image: Harrisson Selmen/Wansolwara

Organised by the University of the South Pacific Journalism Programme, the event is the longest running journalism awards in the region. It is the only awards for journalism in Fiji at the moment.

Dr Singh said the event recognises and rewards students who excel in their coursework, which includes producing news for print, online and broadcast media.

Other sponsors of the awards include Fiji Times Limited, Fiji Television Limited, Mai TV, FijiLive, Communications Fiji Limited, Islands Business, Pacific Islands News Association as well as international non-profit organisation Internews and Earth Journalism Network.

Pacific Media Centre’s professor David Robie, Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley and USP journalism coordinator Dr Shailendra Singh on the USP awards night. Image: Wansolwara

Recipients of the 14 awards were:

FijiLive Most Promising First Year Student Award – Fredrick Kusu (Solomon Islands)
FijiLive
Best Online Reporting Award – Chris Ha’arabe (Solomon Islands)
Communications Fiji Limited Best Radio Student Award – Rosalie Nongebatu (Solomon Islands)
Fiji Television Limited Best Television Student Award – Sharon Nanau (Solomon Islands)
The Fiji Times Best News Reporting Award – Mereoni Mili and Anaseini Civavonovono
The Fiji Times Best Sports Reporting Award – Mitieli Baleiwai and Venina Tinaivugona
Islands Business Award for Best Feature Reporting – Laiseana Nasiga
Mai TV Award for Best Editor – Drue Slatter
Internews/Earth Journalism Network Awards for Best Mojo Documentary (Individual and Group) – Jared Koli (Solomon Islands for the Individual award) and Group 4 winners Kaelyn Dekarube (Nauru), Sharon Nanau, Eliza Kukutu (Solomon Islands), Harrison Selmen (Vanuatu) and Kirisitiana Uluwai
Pacific Islands News Association Encouragement Award – Dhruvkaran Nand
Wansolwara Award for Most Improved Student – Virashna Singh
The Fiji Times Storyboard Award for Best Regional Reporting – Rosalie Nongebatu and Semi Malaki (Tuvalu)
Fiji Sun Tanoa Award for the Most Outstanding Journalism Students – Koroi Tadulala and Elizabeth Osifelo

University of the South Pacific journalism graduating class of 2018. Image: Harrisson Selmen/Wansolwara

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Fijian students design superheroes to challenge ‘Silence’ in comic contest

Students at Holy Trinity Primary School in Suva, Fiji, presented their superheroes designed during a workshop held on Monday. Image: UNICEF

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Advocacy groups have called on children and young people to defeat the “ultimate supervillain” – silence – to help end violence in and around schools.

The Holy Trinity Primary School students’ superheroes will be entered in this global competition organised by UNICEF and Comics Uniting Nations.

During the workshop at Holy Trinity Primary School, UNICEF Pacific ambassador Pita Taufatofua said: “Every child in Fiji, in the Pacific islands and throughout the world, has the right to go to school and feel safe.

“Superhero” Love Walker. Image: UNICEF

“Let’s talk about the kind of superpowers that your superhero might have that will help every child feel safe in school.”

The students also had the chance to work with Tui Ledua, from Kanalevu Animation and Illustration.

“How will we create a superhero to prevent bullying?” Ledua told the students.

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He responded to the students’ ideas on the characteristics his superhero should have and brought this character to life right in front of their eyes, a superhero complete with a sasa broom to be used as a magic wand to create a peaceful world.

Silencing children
Silence is a supernatural character that uses its powers to stop children from speaking up and taking action against violence in and around schools.

Children and young people aged 25 years and under have been invited to design their own comic superhero that will defeat Silence and help keep children safe in school.

UNICEF Pacific representative Sheldon Yett said: “From fighting and bullying to sexual harassment and corporal punishment, violence in and around schools can have devastating, long-term consequences for children.”

The Silence superhero comic contest will encourage children and young people in
Fiji and around the world to be part of UNICEF’s global campaign to shed light on and spark action to #ENDviolence in schools through the creative medium of comic design.

The top submissions in the contest will be chosen after the closing date on October 25 by a special panel of judges, including comic artist Gabriel Picolo and last year’s comic contest winner Sathviga “Sona” Sridhar.

The public will then have the opportunity to vote online for their favourite comic hero between November 16 and 25.

The winner will be announced in December and will work with a professional team to turn their winning idea into a full-length comic book. Their comic will be presented to World Leaders at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at the United Nations in July 2019, as well as distributed to schools and children worldwide.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Indonesia arrests 67 Papuan students in Jayapura backing Vanuatu’s UN bid

Arrested West Papuan students … backing Vanuatu’s bid for United Nations support for Papuan self-determination. Image: Voice WestPapuan

By Benny Mawel in Jayapura

Students from several tertiary institutions in the Papuan provincial capital of Jayapura have been holding actions to support efforts by Vanuatu and other Pacific countries to take the West Papua issue before the 72rd Session of the UN General Assembly this week.

Protest actions organised by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) on Monday ended with students being assaulted and arrested by police.

“One student, Petrus Kosamah was assaulted on the campus grounds,” Papua ULMWP action committee secretary Crido Dogopia told Tabloid Jubi in Abepura, Jayapura.

Dogopia said Kosamah was assaulted when police broke up a free speech forum held by students on campus grounds.

Papuan protesters arrested at a separate demonstration in Timika. Image: Voice Westpapua

“Police broke up the forum but students resisted. Police forcibly dragged demonstrators into a crowd control [Dalmas] truck. It was then that he was assaulted,” said Dogopia

Dogopia said that all the students involved in the free speech forum were taken to the Jayapura municipal police station. There they joined protesters who had been arrested earlier at an Expo gathering point in front of the regional post office in Abepura.

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‘Secured’ the protesters
Papua police chief Inspector General Martuani Sormin, however, denied that police officers assaulted demonstrators, saying they just “secured” the protesters in order to bring them in for questioning.

“None of our officers behaved violently towards protesters, they only questioned them and tonight they’ll be returned [home]”, said Sormin on Monday evening.

According to Sormin, the protesters failed to inform police beforehand about the demonstration.

“We don’t require [protests] to have a permit, but there was no notification”, he said.

Senior human rights lawyer Gustav Kawer said that arresting protesters on the ground that there was no prior notification is invalid.

Law Number 9/1998 on freedom of expression does not stipulate that police have the authority to reject a notification of a demonstration.

“The police do this repeatedly. There is no [stipulation] in the law stating that police can reject [a notification]”, he explained.

Escort needed
Kawer said that police are only authorised to issue a document stating they have received the notification. They are then obliged to facilitate the protest until the demonstrations have conveyed their aspirations.

“The proper way is for police to escort them until the demonstrators have achieved their goal,” he said.

Kawer added that he was shocked at how police violated laws which guaranteed freedom of expression.

Police instead see it as an issue of law enforcement.

“Police frequently violate the law”, he said.

According to Kawer, police were not actually aware that actions which they saw as enforcing the law harmed Indonesia. Indonesia becomes the focus of world attention on freedom of expression.

“This approach attracts world attention. The international community questions how far Indonesia is open to free expression,” he said. Because of this, in future police must adhere to regulations, not interpret legislation.

The following is a chronology of the arrests which took place at three protest gathering points:

1. Expo Taxi Roundabout, Waena: At 8.30am local time, protesters arrived at the gathering point. Meanwhile, police were already on alert.

At 9.22 the protesters began giving speeches. Police then approached the demonstrators and negotiated with them. The negotiations ended with the arrest of demonstrators. The protesters were ordered into a Dalmas truck and taken to the Jayapura municipal police station.

2. Jayapura Science and Technology University (USTJ) campus: At 10.30am local time. students had gathered on campus grounds and were giving speeches.

At 11.45am, police entered the USTJ campus grounds and forcibly broke up the free speech action. But the students refused to disband and in the end police acted violently and the students were arrested and dragged into to Dalmas truck and taken to the Jayapura municipal police station.

3. Abepura, in front of the post office: At 11.10am, protesters had gathered on Jl. Biak in front of the Jayapura State Senor High-School 1. The protesters then marched on foot to the Abepura post office.

At 11.20am local time the protesters arrived at the post office and began giving speeches. At 11.30 police approached the demonstrators and closed down the free speech forum.

The following are the names of those arrested who based at the mobilisation points:

1. Expo:
Dewo Wonda (student)
Lion Kabak (student)
Yunara Wandikbo (student)
Niba Aroba (student)
Kabel Bagau (student)
Anggrek Babugau (student)
Ason Mirin (student)
Kisman Nabyal (student)
Deki Kogoya (student)
Freedom T (student)
Wiame Hagijimbau (student)
Ebed Enggalim (student)
Memo Hagijimbau (student)
Yuspianus Duwitau (student)
Wanius Kombo (student)
Ricky Yapugau (student)
Mitinus Lawiya (student)
Fery Kogoya (student)
Feri Mujijau (student)
Seteniel Bagubau (student)
Nobel Belau (student)
Gerson Wetipo (student)
Fredy Wamu (student)
Weyek Aliknoe (student)
Marius Agimoni (student)
Zeth Enn (student)
Chyrro Dendegau (student)
Binladen Mabin (student)
Kominus Ueling (student)
Lanihe Lany (Mahasiswi)
Mandena Tanambani (student)
Siwe Weya (student)
Noken Tipagau (student)
Melawan Wantik (Koordinator Umum Aksi)
Naman Manufandu (student)
Jespien Emani (student)
Arel Jikwa (student)

2. USTJ:
Malvin Yobe (student)
Alber Yatipai (student)
Yosep Asso (student)
Jeny Degei (Mahasiswi)
Allo Alua (student)
Hendrikus Okmonggop (student)
Don Borom (student)
Mater Sambom (student)
Yosep Yatipai (student)
Petrus Kosamah (student)
Leo Konorop (student)
Yustinus Yare (student)
Desma Wasina (student)
Widius Kossay (student)
Efrat B. Wakerkwa (student)
Rustinus Tuwok (student)
Petrus Alua (student)
Meky Gobai (student)
Enos Adii(student)

3. Abepura:
Obaja Itlay (student)
Septinus M. Kossay (student)
Otinus Meage (student)
Gerson Asso (student)
Bertinus Kossay (student)
Aleksander Tiko (student)
Andrianto Tekege (Pelajar)
Lewis Ningdana (student)
Daniel Kudiay (student)
Abiniel Doo (student)
Beny Hisage (student)

Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was ” Demo ULMWP; 67 mahasiswa ditangkap, satu dipukul polisi“. Benny Mawel is a journalist with Tabloid Jubi which has a content sharing arrangement with the Pacific Media Centre.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Refugee children on Nauru ‘living without hope’, says advocacy group

Children outside RPC3 tents in Nauru … situation “untenable”. Image: Refugee Action Coalition/RNZ Pacific

By RNZ Pacific

A legal advocacy group has told the UN Human Rights Council that more than 100 asylum seeker and refugee children are living without hope on Nauru.

The Human Rights Law Centre addressed the latest council session in Geneva.

The centre’s Daniel Webb told the council that despite the fact the Australian government was professing its committment to human rights in Geneva, it continued to indefinitely imprison 102 children in its offshore detention centre on Nauru.

“Imprisoned for fleeing the same atrocities our government comes here and condemns. And after five years of detention, these children have now lost hope.

“Some have stopped speaking. Some have stopped eating. A 10-year-old boy recently tried to kill himself.”

Webb said if the detention was not stopped there would be deaths.

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He said even the government’s own medical advisers were warning that the situation was untenable.

“Yet the Australian government still refuses to free these kids, and is fighting case after case in our Federal Court to deny them access to urgent medical care. Mr President, we are talking about 102 children.”

Australia presented their concerns regarding human rights around the world at the same session but did not mention their detention camps on Nauru or Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

This article is republished under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.

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MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Fiji youth open up about what they expect from this year’s election

By Sri Krishnamurthi in Suva

It’s wrong to think that the youth in Fiji are unaware of the forthcoming election. They are engaging through social media but want a bit more education on the electoral system in Fiji.

“A whole lot of young people are on social media and you can see a lot of campaigning going on via social media, especially by future women parliamentarians,” says Epeli Lalagavesi, a second-year student at the University of the South Pacific in Suva.

“It is creating awareness about them at the same time.

FIJI PRE-ELECTION SPECIAL REPORTS

“Digital is definitely the trend and that is happening right now. You see the likes of Lenora Qereqeretabua and Lynda Tabuya making use of the social media platforms to share their message. They are campaigning on these platforms.”

USP second-year student Epeli Lalagavesi discusses the forthcoming Fiji election. Image: Sri Krishnamurthi/PMC/Wansolwara

According to Lalagavesi, social media platforms allow the youth to interact and share their views on the election compared with traditional modes of getting the news.

“You don’t see a lot of discussion by young people because they feel in a physical environment they don’t have a say, but online is where they feel safe. That is their space to share and learn. That is where you have active participation,” Lalagavesi says.

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Social media is a safe distance away from politicians, they feel they can engage with them instead of reading it in the third person (newspapers) hampered by media decrees.

Hushed tones
The conversations aren’t spoken in public but behind this wall is where their voices may be heard.

“The conversations are underground essentially,” says Lalagavesi in hushed tones.

“I feel as a young person, youth voices are not heard and this has been echoed since the previous election in 2014.

“I feel there needs to be more awareness of young peoples’ voices, not just during the election but after the election. I feel that after the election, youth are sometimes ignored and not thought of as part of the constituency.”

Lalagavesi says universities have a role to play in the political process instead of being subdued.

“To an extent, I feel the need for universities to also open up the discussion about the election, but it is sort of a no-go zone. We can’t discuss this because the university is not political. If you say something political, it be might be seen as an anti-government institution,” he said.

As a first-time voter, he thinks there isn’t enough education around the electoral system.

Not confident
“I don’t feel confident in voting. The way the whole system works – it’s like you are voting for a party and not the person,” he says, voicing his frustration.

“If I am voting for a certain person, and that person does not have a seat in Parliament then it is of no use. My vote becomes invalid unless I vote for the party.

“We definitely need a bit of education on the electoral system because it will allow us to see how the whole system works. I just know bits and pieces of how the system works. So, voter education awareness will help young voters like myself.”

First-time voter Dhruvkaran Nand hopes there will be more focus on people living with disabilities when a new government is elected. Image: Sri Krishnamurthi/PMC/Wansolwara

Another youth, Dhruvkaran Nand, thinks the great unknown about the elections is intriguing.

“It’s going to be a very interesting election and we are looking forward to that,” says Nand without elaborating.

“I’ll be voting for the first time. My expectation is for a government that comes into power to be accountable and transparent – this will help move the nation forward.

“I am also very interested in people with disabilities. I am looking forward to what the government has in place for people living with disabilities. Creating a disability-friendly environment is very important,” says the young man who is living with a disability.

Words of warning
He has words of warning for those relying on social media alone.

“Social media is a great tool if it is used wisely. If you look at it from a global perspective, countries like India and the US are using those platforms to run their campaigns so that is probably a good thing,” he says.

“But you cannot believe what is on social media unless you have verified the information from reliable sources.”

Other young people show just how much they need to be educated about the elections.

Naomi Saurara of Suva is not interested in the elections because of the uncertain date.

“Right now I have no idea about the election because the election date hasn’t been set,” the Fiji National University student says.

However, her friend Kirisitiana Kula is aware and has read several policies.

Better future
“I have read the policies and some of them are good. It is up to us which government we vote in but I’m not sure what is going to happen after the election,” she says pondering the future.

“It depends on what government the people vote for because if you want a better future then you will pick the right government to take over.

“The young should care about the election because they need to focus on their future and think of others too.”

For Krishneel Krishna, it’s a matter of looking at the best benefit.

“We have to vote for the party which gives us benefits for our education,” he said.

“I will stay in Fiji if the wages are good, but if the wages aren’t up to our expectation then that’s a different story.”

There are many choices to be made when it comes to engaging and participating in a country’s national election. But for these Fijian youths, weighing in on the election is a whole new experience, one they know will have an impact on their future.

Sri Krishnamurthi is a journalist and Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies student at Auckland University of Technology. He is attached to The University of the South Pacific’s Journalism Programme, filing for USP’s Wansolwara News and the AUT Pacific Media Centre’s Asia Pacific Report.

Eliki Drugunalevu and Krishneel Krishna exchange views about the impending election and what it means for youths in Fiji. Image: Sri Krishnamurthi/PMC/Wansolwara

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media

Pacific student uncertainties over climate impact outweighs Fiji poll

Final year University of the South Pacific student journalist Elizabeth Osifelo, from the Solomon Islands, has witnessed the rise in sea level each time she travels home from Suva. Image: PIFS/Wansolwara

Climate change issues seem to loom larger than the impending Fiji general election in the minds of University of the South Pacific students. Pacific Media Centre’s Sri Krishnamurthi speaks to students about their thoughts.

COP23, which refers to the 23rd annual Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), and Fiji holding the presidency over the last year is the reason university students in Fiji are alarmed at the rapid changes in their environment.

“As someone from the Pacific, there is a strong concern about climate change. The thing which I see in the Pacific as part of climate change is the burden that it is not of our own doing, but unfortunately, we are the losers who are putting it out there,” says Mohammed Ahmed, a Bachelor of Arts student at the regional University of the South Pacific.

“For example, in one of the conventions in which all the countries are represented, there is a decision made to reduce carbon emissions by 10 percent.

FIJI PRE-ELECTION SPECIAL REPORTS

“To countries like China and America, which are industrial nations, that’s applicable but to a country in the Pacific which has a substantially insignificant carbon footprint that wouldn’t apply.”

Climate change is foremost on the minds of USP students rather than an impending Fiji general election that has still not had a declared date.

USP Bachelor of Arts student Mohammed Ahmed … “climate change is a burden not of our doing.” Image: Sri Krishnamurthi/PMC/Wansolwara

Koroi Tadulala, a final-year journalism student, is deeply concerned about what climate change means for his generation.

-Partners-

“For the young generation, the issue today is climate change because there is strong focus on Fiji,” he said.

“One of the major highlights that I want to point out is the presidency [held by the Prime Minister of Fiji, Voreqe Bainimarama] of COP23 last year, its Fiji’s advocacy on climate change, and the talanoa concept that was developed and has now become a global thing.

Talanoa dialogue
“I am very concerned about the environment. I took part in the talanoa dialogue. I was at COP23 in Bonn, Germany, as a youth ambassador.

“It was really interesting because we got a global perspective in one confined space. We had leaders brainstorming solutions and innovative ways which we can combat this global issue.”

Regardless of the politics of Fiji, he had nothing but praise for the way his Prime Minister handled himself on the world stage.

“I’d say he has delivered very well as president of COP23. He still continues to fight climate change and he remains active about the issue.”

It worries Elizabeth Osifelo, who hails from the Solomon Islands, because she observes the rising sea levels each time she goes home from Suva.

“I am concerned because I come from a low-lying area, which is by the sea. I always go back home during Christmas and every time I go back, year after year, I can see changes,” she said.

There are similar concerns voiced for the environment in the Solomon Islands.

Eliminating plastic
“I know a lot of Pacific Island nations are in the process of eliminating plastic bags and rubbish like in Fiji and Vanuatu, which has taken the lead in banning plastic bags.

“I hope that the Solomon Islands will come that soon so that we are more active in the way we look after our environment,” she said.

Kritika Rukmani from the nearby tourism mecca of Pacific Harbour could not put it more succinctly.

“I am very passionate about climate change. We, as an island nation, should be concerned because we are very small compared with other countries. We will sink at a faster rate than anyone else,” she said.

Adi Anaseini Civavonovono believes that individuals cannot shirk their responsibility and leave it all to the authorities or the private investors.

“How we look after the environment is up to individuals we cannot depend on government initiatives or climate change financiers. Climate change is a concern not only for Fiji but for the Pacific region because we are the most affected,” she summed up.

Auckland speaker Aneet Kumar, a student working and studying at USP, takes a wider view on climate change. Image: Sri Krishnamurthi/PMC/Wansolwara

Keynote speaker
Having travelled near and far in the past two years and being involved in the NGO sector, Aneet Kumar was invited to Auckland last month to be the keynote speaker at the Peace Foundation’s Auckland Secondary Schools’ Symposium.

Working and studying at the USP, he takes a wider view on the subject.

“As a young person who has been to a number of countries, I can say Fiji has made significant progress in terms of representations on international bodies and agencies like the United Nations. That is one way of dealing with threats to our futures,” said Kumar.

“This week I was reading about our permanent representative to the UN [Satyendra Prasad], who had raised his concerns at the UN Security Council’s Peaceful Mediation process, on the importance of the UN Security Council to consider rigorously and debate climate change issues and issue of disputes between countries. Hopefully something good comes out of it.”

Perhaps the last words on the touchy topic for students comes from Mohammed Ahmed who aptly sums up, “As a person that is concerned about climate change, we have talked a lot but we have dragged our feet as well”.

Sri Krishnamurthi is a journalist and Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies student at Auckland University of Technology. He is attached to The University of the South Pacific journalism programme, filing for USP’s Wansolwara News and the AUT Pacific Media Centre’s Asia Pacific Report.

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Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL OSI – Source: Evening Report Arts and Media