Friday, July 29, 2022

NZ’s Parliament siege, ‘disinformation war’, kava and media change featured in latest PJR

Pacific Journalism Review ... exposing the assault on "truth telling" and a
kava photoessay. IMAGE: Todd Henry/PJR

By PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH

Frontline investigative articles on Aotearoa New Zealand’s 23-day Parliament protester siege, social media disinformation and Asia-Pacific media changes and adaptations are featured in the latest Pacific Journalism Review.

The assault on “truth telling” reportage is led by The Disinformation Project, which warns that “conspiratorial thought continues to impact on the lives and actions of our communities”, and alt-right video researcher Byron C Clark.

Several articles focus on the Philippines general election with the return of the Marcos dynasty following the elevation of the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr and the crackdown on independent media, including Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate Maria Ressa’s Rappler.

Columbia Journalism School’s Centre for Investigative Journalism director Sheila Coronel writes of her experiences under the Marcos dictatorship: “Marcos is a hungry ghost. He torments our dreams, lays claim to our memories, and feeds our hopes.”

But with Marcos Jr’s landslide victory in May, she warns: “You will be in La-La Land, a country without memory, without justice, without accountability. Only the endless loop of one family, the soundtrack provided by Imelda.”

Friday, July 22, 2022

‘Doorstops’ at the Pacific Forum – why no tough questions on West Papua?

Bodies of civilians being evacuated after an attack by an armed group
at Nogolaid Village, Kenyam District, Nduga Regency, Papua,
last Saturday. IMAGE: Jubi

By DAVID ROBIE

A LIVELY 43sec video clip surfaced during last week’s Pacific Islands Forum in the Fiji capital of Suva — the first live leaders’ forum in three years since Tuvalu, due to the covid pandemic.

Posted on Twitter by Guardian Australia’s Pacific Project editor Kate Lyons it showed the doorstopping of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare by a melee of mainly Australian journalists.

An aloof Sogavare was being tracked over questions about security and China’s possible military designs for the Melanesian nation.

 

A doorstop on security and China greets Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh
Sogavare (in blue shirt) at the Pacific islands Forum in Suva last week.
IMAGE: Twitter screenshot @MsKateLyons
 
But Lyons made a comment directed more at questioning journalists themselves about their newsgathering style:

“Australian media attempt to get a response from PM Sogavare, who has refused to answer questions from international media since the signing of the China security deal, on his way to a bilateral with PM Albanese. He stayed smilingly silent.”

Friday, June 10, 2022

Filipino migrants call on NZ to halt military aid to Philippines over Marcos election

Filipinos in the Wellington meeting make their pledge simultaneously with the
Auckland group for “history, truth and democracy” in the Philippines.
IMAGE: Del Abcede/APR



COMMENTARY: By DAVID ROBIE

MIGRANTS and overseas Filipinos in Aotearoa New Zealand have called on the governments of both Australia and New Zealand to halt all military and security aid to the Philippines in protest over last month’s “fraudulent” general election.

At simultaneous meetings in Auckland and Wellington, a new broad coalition of social justice and community campaigners endorsed a statement pledging: “Never forget, never again martial law!”

“Bongbong” Marcos Jr, the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr, was elected President in a landslide ballot on May 9 and will take office at the end of this month.

Philippine presidential election frontrunner Bongbong Marcos
Philippine President-elect Bongbong Marcos Jr wooing voters at a campaign rally in Borongan, Eastern Samar. Image: Rappler/Bongbong FB

His father ruled the Philippines with draconian leadership — including 14 years of martial law — between 1965 and 1986 until he was ousted by a People Power uprising.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Ramos-Horta challenges Pacific’s biggest threat to media freedom – China’s gatekeepers

Showing how it's done ... a "more open" media conference in Dili
with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi. IMAGE: TL Presidential Palace media
 

 By DAVID ROBIE

Timor-Leste, the youngest independent nation and the most fledgling press in the Asia-Pacific, has finally shown how it’s done — with a big lesson for Pacific island neighbours.

Tackle the Chinese media gatekeepers and creeping authoritarianism threatening journalism in the region at the top.

In Dili on the final day of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s grand Pacific tour to score more than 50 agreements and deals — although falling short of winning its Pacific region-wide security pact for the moment — newly elected (for the second time) President José Ramos-Horta won a major concession.

Enough of this paranoid secrecy and contemptuous attitude towards the local – and international – media in democratic nations of the region.

Under pressure from the democrat Ramos-Horta, a longstanding friend of a free media, Wang’s entourage caved in and allowed more questions like a real media conference.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Philippines forgets history and sells its soul for another Marcos

Students protest at the University of the Philippines Manila today over the alleged
election irregularities. IMAGE: APR

By DAVID ROBIE in Tāmaki Makaurau
 

Sadly, the Philippines has sold its soul. Thirty six years ago a People Power revolution ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos after two decades of harsh authoritarian rule.

Yesterday, in spite of a rousing and inspiring Pink Power would-be revolution, the dictator’s only son and namesake “Bongbong” Marcos Jr seems headed to be elected 17th president of the Philippines.

And protests have broken out after the provisional tallies that give Marcos a “lead of millions” with more than 97 percent of the vote counted. Official results could still take some days.

The Pink Power volunteers
The Pink Power volunteers would-be revolution … living
the spirit of democracy. IMAGE: BBC screenshot APR

Along with Bongbong, his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, daughter of strongman Rodrigo Duterte, president for the past six years and who has been accused of human rights violations over the killings of thousands of alleged suspects in a so-called “war on drugs”, is decisively in the lead as vice-president.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Open letter to Minister Faafoi – an appeal to help 34 abandoned Papuan students

Papuan student advocate Laurens Ikinia ... “We are so grateful to all Kiwis across
the country for their generous support." IMAGE: Del Abcede/Asia Pacific Report

OPEN LETTER: By David Robie

Kia ora Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi

IT IS unconscionable. A bewildering and grossly unfair crisis for 34 young Papuan students – 25 male and 9 female – the hope for the future of the West Papua region, the Melanesian half of Papua New Guinea island ruled by Indonesia.

They were part of a cohort of 93 Papuan students studying in Aotearoa New Zealand on local provincial autonomy government scholarships, preparing for their careers, and learning or improving their English along the way. They were also making Pacific friendships and contacts.

They were fast becoming a “bridge” to New Zealand. Ambassadors for their people.

And then it all changed. Suddenly through no fault of their own, 41 of them were told out of the blue their scholarships were being cancelled and they had to return home.

Their funds were cut with no warning. Many of them had accommodation bills to pay, university fees to cover and other student survival debts.

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