Saturday, December 3, 2016

Carry on Fidel Castro’s global legacy, says Cuban ambassador

Cuban ambassador to New Zealand Mario Alzugaray during his passionate tribute to Fidel Castro
at Auckland Trades Hall tonight. Video clip: Café Pacific

By David Robie 

CUBAN revolutionary leader Fidel Castro’s contribution to global social justice and dignity, and to developing nations worldwide – including the Pacific, was praised in New Zealand tonight.

Activists, politicians, academics, journalists, teachers, trade unionists and community workers were among about 100 people gathered at the Auckland Trades Hall to hear Cuban Ambassador Mario Alzugaray and other speakers give tributes to Castro’s life.

Alzugaray challenged the audience to continue Castro’s half century of struggle for a better society: “The best way to remember Fidel is to carry on his legacy and keep it alive.”

The ambassador said Castro had social justice at the core of his ideals and action.

“He was an internationalist since the very beginning,” Alzugaray said. “He was involved in every movement connected to the anti-imperialist struggle in Latin America.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Media coverage of war atrocities opens debate on INFOCORE research

Media is going through a "tremendous transformation as a result of the ever-changing, global media landscape". Video: Euronews

By Elena Cavalione of Euronews

IN A world torn apart by conflicts old and new, the issue of the media’s role seems to have growing importance.

Media coverage of atrocities committed during wars is opening up debate on the power images have to influence public opinion and political decisions.

INFOCORE is an international research study funded by the 7th European Framework Programme of the European Commission. It brings together experts from the Social Sciences to investigate the media’s role in violent conflicts in three regions: the Middle East, the Balkans and Central Africa.

Romy Frohlich from Ludwig Maaximilians University in Munich explains that journalism is under a state of tremendous transformation as a result of the ever-changing, global media landscape.

“What we see so far”, she says, “is that this change in journalism does affect or had an effect on the power balance within the shaping of public discourse, for example the relation between journalism and political actors or journalism and propaganda and public relations.”

Monday, September 19, 2016

Philippines president’s ‘hit man’ allegations spur renewed calls for killings probe

Time magazine and Singapore Sunday Times reports on Philippines 'killing fields'. Image: David Robie

By DAVID ROBIE in Manila

MOUNTING calls for the Philippines president to be investigated over the allegations of human rights violations deepened over the weekend with revelations by a confessed hit man that at least 1000 extrajudicial killings had been ordered when the president was mayor of the southern city of Davao. 

Fresh reports featuring the allegations were included in a cover story in the latest Time magazine, the Singapore Sunday Times and a new inquiry by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism into the so-called “Davao Death Squad”.

It is only 80 days since President Rodrigo Duterte was sworn into office, and the PCIJ reports that he now “commands an armed contingent that is a hundred times bigger than it was in Davao, and his ‘enemy’ a thousand times more numerous”.

More than 3000 people have reportedly been killed so far in the so-called Project Tokhang – or “Double barrel” -  war on drugs. The president has also called for a six-month extension on his policy, claiming that the drugs business is largely "operated by people in government".

Time magazine branded its report the “killing season” in the Philippines with a subheading of “Inside President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs”.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The ‘nuclear free’ Vanuatu girl with the enchanting smile

Riding out from Aneityum Island to the grass airstrip for the return flight back to Tanna.


She had the most enchanting smile, even though she had lost her baby teeth. Her toothless grin turned out to be perfect for the role.

The five-year-old girl had her face painted with a black anti-nuclear symbol – different motifs on both her cheeks.

Beside her was a neatly sketched poster: “No nukes: Please don’t spoil my beautiful face”.

This was the scene in Port Vila’s Independence Park in 1983 during the region’s second Nuclear-Free and Independent Pacific Movement conference.

It was during the heady days of nuclear-free activism with Vanuatu, the world’s newest nation only three years old and founding Prime Minister Walter Hadye Lini leading the way.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

‘That day I saw the power of media, and how it can be tragic’

University of Papua New Guinea's Emily Matasororo ... in the background, images of heavily armed police
shortly before they opened fire on peaceful students. Image:" Del Abcede/PMC


SURPRISING that a conference involving some of the brightest minds in journalism education from around the world should be ignored by New Zealand’s local media.

Some 220 people from 43 countries were at the Fourth World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC) conference in Auckland.

The range of diversity alone at the Auckland University of Technology hosted event was appealing, but it was the heady mix of ideas and contributions that offered an inspiring backdrop.

Topics included strategies for teaching journalism for mobile platforms – the latest techniques; “de-westernising” journalism education in an era of new media genres; transmedia storytelling; teaching hospitals; twittering, facebooking and snapchat -- digital media under the periscope; new views on distance learning, and 21st century ethical issues in journalism are just a representative sample of what was on offer.

Keynote speakers included Divina Frau-Meigs (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle) with a riveting account on how "powerful journalism" makes "prime ministers jump", the Center of Public Integrity’s Peter Bale (a New Zealander) on the need to defend press freedom, and Tongan newspaper publisher and broadcaster who turned “inclusivity” on its head with an inspiring “include us” appeal from the Pacific,"where we live in the biggest continent on planet Earth".

Sunday, June 19, 2016

UPNG students speak out - their own story, video of the police shootings

AN EXCLUSIVE video created by the University of Papua New Guinea's Student Representative Council about the events on 8 June 2016 involving the shooting of at least 8 UPNG students by police officers outside of their Waigani campus in Port Moresby.

Hospital authorities denied news reports of deaths, but confirmed at least 23 people had been treated for gunshot wounds, four with critical injuries

The students were assembling at the campus for a peaceful march to Parliament to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill to face an investigation into corruption allegations.

The narrator is Kenneth Rapa, president of the SRC, and he explains the sequence of events leading up the police opening fire on the students with gunshots and tear gas.

Story on Asia Pacific Report

More reports at APR

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