Saturday, October 21, 2017

Indonesian academic exchange an opportunity for unique collaboration

Universitas Gadjah Mada's Centre for Southeast Asian Social Studies (CESASS)
meets AUT's Pacific Media Centre with a Sky Tower backdrop. Photo: PMC
From AUT University

Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie will next week join academics from around the world in a global professorial exchange with Indonesia's Universitas Gadjah Mada. In return, six academics from the progressive Yogyakarta university have visited Auckland University of Technology for the first communication and publication research collaboration of its kind in New Zealand.

The academics from Yogyakarta, led by Gadjah Mada University's Centre for Southeast Asian Social Studies (CESASS) director Dr Hermin Indah Wahyuni, arrived in Auckland earlier this month for a two-week visit featuring workshops, seminars and joint research projects related to climate change.

They will also be collaborating with their newly published research journal IKAT, the PMC's 23-year-old Pacific Journalism Review and AUT Library's Tuwhera research platform on a major project involving ecological communication and Asia-Pacific maritime disasters.

Dr Robie is one of six academics invited by CESASS as part of the Indonesian government's World Class Professor (WCP) programme to strengthen international publication and research studies.

He will visit Gadjah Mada University for two weeks, joining Professor Thomas Hanitzsch, chair and professor of Communication Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat Munchen, Germany; Professor Judith Schlehe, professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at University of Freiburg, Germany; Dr Magaly Koch from the Centre for Remote Sensing at Boston University; Professor Hermann M. Fritz from Georgia Institute of Technology; and Dr David Menier, associate professor HDR at Université de Bretagne-Sud, France.

Head of the School of Communication Studies, Professor Berrin Yanikkaya recently welcomed the Indonesian academics and recognised the role of the PMC. Dr Yanikkaya said:
"David has for many years run a vibrant and dynamic research centre out of the School of Communication Studies. The Pacific Media Centre has become a focus for research and political commentary and thanks to David's energy and commitment has attracted many overseas scholars whose research has further enriched the unique perspective that the centre offers on Asia-Pacific affairs.

"I'm extremely pleased to host our guests from Indonesia and to join with them in congratulating David on this acknowledgement of his life's work."

Saturday, July 15, 2017

PNG activist blogger Martyn Namorong protests online in defiance of gag order

PNG blogger Martyn Namorong ... gagged but not silenced. Image: MN Twitter
By Mong Palatino of Global Voices

A Papua New Guinea court has issued a gag order against Martyn Namorong, a prominent political blogger and activist accused of defaming Patilias Gamato, the country’s Electoral Commissioner.

Gamato this week sued Namorong after Namorong compared him to a "fruit" (tomato) on social media, as reported by Pacific Media Watch. When Namorong learned about the court order, he posted this image on Twitter before adding the above blue gag selfie image:


He added that he also needed a lawyer.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Gary Juffa: Why these PNG elections are taking us towards dictatorship

Oro Governor Gary Juffa speaking at a PNG campaign gathering ... explaining the qualities to look for in
national leadership. Image: JuffaFB
By Gary Juffa, Oro Governor and an opposition MP writing for Asia Pacific Report.

I SUSPECT that these Papua New Guinea elections have been so deliberately set to fail, leaving much room for fraud and confusion, and distracting from what is really going on – the establishment of a dictatorship.

Already Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has his own special police unit that flies around Papua New Guinea escorting him in his private airlines, he has a special army unit of 40 exclusively for his callout, he controls the media and Public Service, and, it seems, the Police and Defence commands — and perhaps the judiciary -- the signs and red flags are blinking bright red now…

Yet many people do not see it. We are inching closer towards dictatorship and the ensuing bloodshed and violence that must come from the hostility towards it. But, like lemmings and sheep, we are led to that reality with little resistance at all. Is this the Papua New Guinea we all believed in once upon a time?

Last Wednesday in Oro province, provided a demonstration of how much the PNG government is not for PNG.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

'Voice of the voiceless' - Al Jazeera's response over Saudi-led blog gag pressure

The Doha headquarters of the global news network. Photo: Al Jazeera
An important media freedom statement: An open letter from Al Jazeera
Republished on Café Pacific from the Doha-based global news network

OVER two decades ago, Al Jazeera Arabic was launched with a simple mission: to provide reliable information to viewers across the Arab world. Ten years later, in 2006, Al Jazeera English began broadcasting with the same mission - to provide people around the world with accurate, balanced and impartial information.

When Al Jazeera Arabic went on air in 1996, it was unique in the Arab world. Most media in the region at the time were state-controlled and often unchallenged mouthpieces for the different rulers and governments in the region. Al Jazeera was different, a truly independent voice, with a mission to hear and report the human stories that were otherwise ignored; to cover events with balance and integrity; and to hold power to account.

Al Jazeera Arabic quickly gained a huge and loyal audience across the region. The information we provided became a lifeline to millions of people who wanted to know what was really going on around them.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Rights groups condemn ‘cowardly censorship’ bid over Al Jazeera


Flashback to the US-led coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003 -- how the rolling 24 hour news station Al Jazeera played a key role in the  battle for hearts and minds and has made many political enemies. "We are surrounded by despots," says fiesty presenter Faisal Al-Qaseem. Video: Journeyman Pictures

Pacific Media Watch/Asia Pacific Report


PRESS freedom and human rights advocates, journalists and social media users have condemned a demand by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries to shut Al Jazeera television network and other media outlets in Qatar.

The Arab states reportedly issued a 13-point list on Friday, demanding the closure of all news outlets that it funds, directly and indirectly, including Arabi21, Rassd, Al Araby Al Jadeed, Mekameleen and Middle East Eye.

“We are really worried about the implication and consequences of such requirements if they will ever be implemented,” said Alexandra El Khazen, head of Middle East and North Africa desk at Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit organisation promoting press freedom.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Paris, Khazen said: “We are against any kind of censorship and measures that could threaten the diversity in the Arab media landscape and pluralism, for instance.

“The Arabic media landscape should make room and accept the broadest range of viewpoints instead of adopting repressive measures against alternative viewpoints that are found to be critical of some governments.”

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Celebrating 30 years of Nuclear-Free Aotearoa -- the Pacific connection

Auckland mayor Phil Goff admiring a photograph by John Miller taken of the politician when he was a student activist campaigning for a nuclear-free New Zealand. Goff spoke at the "Celebrating 30 Years of Nuclear-Free Aotearoa/New Zealand" at the Depot Artspace in Devonport today. Image" David Robie
Reflections from David Robie

CONGRATULATIONS everybody for that tremendous achievement three decades ago. And thank you to WILPF Aotearoa and Ruth Coombes for inviting me. It was literally a David and Goliath struggle to make New Zealand nuclear-free against United States and global pressure – not just David Lange, prime minister at the time, although he was vital too.

The real “David” was the ordinary people of New Zealand who exerted extraordinary pressure on the government to deliver. The barrages of letters from citizens, constant lobbying by peace campaigners, local councils – such as right here in Devonport -- declaring themselves nuclear-free, the door-knocking petitioners – and, of course, the spectacular protests.

However, in my few minutes I would like to talk about the Pacific context, as this was my background. While the New Zealand campaign and success was tremendously inspirational for the Pacific, it should not be forgotten that some small Pacific countries and communities were actually ahead of the game.

Some examples:

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