Monday, October 8, 2007

New NZ survey exposes disgruntled journos

A survey of more than 500 New Zealand journalists has revealed marked unhappiness about levels of pay, resourcing and training, reports the Pacific Media Centre. The “Big Journalism 2007” survey found that, while many individual journalists are very satisfied with aspects of their jobs, overall most want improvements in (respectively) pay, support, mentoring and staffing levels.They want more opportunity for discussion and input into ethical and professional issues such as sensationalism, more guidance on how to cope with commercial and advertising pressures, and more time and resources to pursue investigations. The survey, titled "Under-paid, under-trained, under-resourced, unsure about the future - but still idealistic", published in the latest Pacific Journalism Review, is the first to ask NZ journalists what they think about a variety of topics such as quality of news coverage and their ethics and standards.
The survey revealed a generally ethical stance among journalists, with most agreeing that NZ journalists do not omit or distort relevant facts, and that stories are based on journalistic rather than political or commercial values. Asked to rate the quality of NZ news coverage, journalists rated sports coverage the highest, while foreign coverage got the lowest rating, at slightly below average.
The survey was conducted jointly by Massey University lecturers James Hollings, Alan Samson and Dr Elspeth Tilley, and Waikato University associate professor Geoff Lealand. It builds on Dr Lealand's previous surveys of NZ journalists.
The old and the new journos, according to cartoonist Malcolm Evans.

Friday, October 5, 2007

TV3's Pacific broadcasting 'loophole' dubious

New Zealand's rugby World Cup broadcaster TV3 this week launched a bold 'Pacific loophole' plan to evade strict Sunday morning advertising laws. But doubts remain about the legality. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage says TV3 could still be breaching the Broadcasting Act. TV3 had previously confirmed it would play commercials at this time - starting with tomorrow's quarterfinal between the All Blacks and the host nation France in Cardiff - but had not revealed how it would achieve this within the restrictions in the law. [All Blacks beaten by Michalak's magic]. TV3, in an arrangement with Fiji TV, will be transmitting its entire signal for the event to 18 countries and territories in the Pacific.
The additional countries or territories that the signal reaches are: Tahiti, Cook Islands, Tonga, American Samoa, Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Niue, Kiribati, Nauru, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea,Guam, The Marshall Islands, Northern Marianas.
There are three requirements in the Broadcasting Act which allow for Sunday morning advertising. The signal for the programme must:
1. Originate outside New Zealand;
2. Be transmitted simultaneously to both New Zealand audiences and audiences outside New Zealand;
3. Be targeted primarily at audiences outside New Zealand.

Who is convinced by TV3's claim about the primary audience outside NZ? It is a wildly optimistic estimate of a potential audience based on population only. And it is a dubious argument to be claiming a combined Pacific population of more than nine million - more than double New Zealand's population, when the critical figure is potential audience. Most of the 18 countries and territories listed have a limited interest in rugby union.
While it is true Papua New Guinea (6.2 million cited by TV3) has a far larger population than New Zealand, the TV audience is very small and the country is primarily a rugby league nation. Eighty percent of the people are rural villagers with limited access to TV and electricity. Various estimates put the potential TV audience for the national broadcaster EM TV (owned by Fiji TV's subsidiary Media Niugini) at between 500,000 and 600,000. The rugby broadcasts would be catering for a relatively small expatriate market and local audience.
There will be strong and enthusiastic audiences in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, of course, and Tahiti and New Caledonia (and perhaps Vanuatu) would have a keen interest in the France-All Greys quarterfinal at least. But it is hard to see much of a potential audience in some countries and territories such as Guam, the Marshall Islands and Northern Marianas.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Powes Parkop slams the Papua media 'taboo'

Good to see PNG's new National Capital District governor Powes Parkop having a crack at the local media for its appalling job in recent times at covering the plight of their 'bros across the border in Indonesian-controlled Papua. The issue of 10,000 or so displaced West Papuans and their requests remains a festering sore. And the PNG media haven't done enough to address the problem and ensure it is on the agenda for weak-kneed politicians. Ironical, because there are many influential Papuan journalists in the PNG media industry and in the past they have prodded local newspapers, radio and TV into keeping an eye on the Papuan problem. Powes always supported the Papuans in their struggle for self-determination right from his Melanesian Solidarity activist and human rights legal work days. Now we wish him luck in the to job at NCD. He took advantage of the launching of PNG's 'Let's do it' media expo 2007 to slam the media for accepting Papua as a "taboo" topic. He wasn't too full of platitudes about the coverage of the decade-long war on Bougainville, which ended in 1997, either. Parkop said he couldn't recall when journalists had tried to report the Papuan story on the other side of the border without Indonesian thought police. He said: The media seems to have swallowed the political line that West Papua is part of Indonesia and whatever is happening there is a matter for Indonesia ... It seems that as far as the media is concerned, West Papua is A TABOO . It's a domestic affair similar to how we treat domestic violence.
Cartoon: Sharpe's view of John Howard's closed door attitude to West Papua - it could easily apply to the PNG media attitude to Papua.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Global citizens and the al Jazeera experience

Nightly catching up on the al Jazeera English perspective on world events is so refreshing, especially after the mundane stuff being served up on Television NZ and TV3. So it was a cool experience for those of us who had the chance to share with four feisty Asia-Pacific woman journos this week, especially al-Jazeera's pair, Kuala Lumpur-based presenter Veronica Pedrosa and Trish Carter (actually now exAJ). Trish talked about the immense challenges about starting the Asia-Pacific bureau of the Qatar-based satellite channel from scratch. Veronica, daughter of a famous exiled mum who fell out with Imelda Marcos over a no-holds-barred book about the totalitarian era first lady, gave a superbly entertaining and insightful look behind the scenes at al Jazeera. There is a determined commitment by its dedicated staff to report the many under-reported stories ignored by other media. Veronica describes herself as a "global citizen - Filipina by heart, Euro by habit"! The quartet were rounded off by Sagarika Ghose from India and Charlotte Glennie, dumped by TVNZ and NZ's only Asian resident television correspondent, and now based in Beijing for the ABC in Oz. Thanks to Charles Mabbett and the Asia:NZ Foundation, many journos and a sprinkling of j-students from AUT University got the chance to be inspired by their experiences and insights. But what happened to the 40-odd journos who signed up for the seminar but were no-shows? No wonder NZ media is so depressingly parochial and smug. Pictured: Veronica Pedrosa and Russell Brown. Photo: Jomine Neethling (AUT Journalism - Pacific Media Centre)

Fear and exposure in Fiji

Bula! Our entertainment corner with a political edge. If you haven't done so already, check out Vitimediawatchdog's Fiji "home truths" indictment of the Speight/Qarase pseudo democratic regime years ... vinaka guys! I spotted a certain notorious "kiss" team image from USP back in May 2000. As Vitimedia explains about the YouTube clips: "Exposing the individuals and the ideas behind the ethnic-nationalism that has destroyed my country."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Solomons riot 'orchestrated plan' for regime change

"Certain politicians" planning regime change in the Solomon Islands were among those responsible for the April 2006 rioting which destroyed much of Honiara's Chinatown area and forced hundreds of Chinese to flee, according to the commission of inquiry.
The commission, chaired by former Papua New Guinea National Court judge Brian Brunton, released an interim report but did not name the individuals or political groups involved.
Radio NZ International reported the commission as saying a number of leading politicians, political groups and organisations were involved in executing a preconceived plan for a regime change following Snyder Rini’s election as prime minister.
The commission has also found that the Solomons government could be liable for damages of US$20 million for the loss of businesses destroyed during the riots. The report's executive summary says:
There is evidence that the 18th April 2006 civil unrest in Honiara was not spontaneous as was originally claimed but rather the event has the hallmark of having been orchestrated and planned in a broader sense of that word. There is now some evidence connecting the identity of a number of leading politicians, political groups and organisations who had in one way or another contributed to the execution of the planning for a regime change, should the previous government or elements of it return to power. The commission’s investigation is not at this stage sufficiently convinced it is in a position in which it is proper to name those individuals, political groups and organisations that were responsible for the planning.
In an earlier interim report in July, the inquiry found there had been failures by Australian police commanders of RAMSI leading up to the riots which also left dozens of Australians police injured.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hidden voices - a Filipina Muslim on the US 'war on terror'

Amirah Ali Lidasan is national vice-chairperson of the Suara Bangsamoro Party List Organisation, which aims to get representation in Congress for the Philippines' several million Muslims (known as Moros and heavily concentrated in the southernmost islands). I've had an email from PSN's Murray Horton about her visit to NZ next month to talk about "The US 'war on terror' and its impact on her people". As Murray explains:
Amirah is a young progressive Muslim woman, with a history of senior leadership in the student movement in Manila, and is a leader in groups such as the Moro Christian People's Alliance. She has an international profile. In March 2007 she was part of a Philippine human rights delegation which toured North America and Europe, drawing international attention to the human rights crisis at home.
The Philippine military has been waging a full blown conventional war in the southern Philippines since the 1970s (simultaneous to the better known and equally long war against the Communist guerrillas throughout the whole country). Right now that war is seeing some of its heaviest fighting in decades, with direct involvement from the US Special Forces who have been
stationed in the southern Philippines since 2002. It has had hugely negative consequences for the whole Muslim population in the South (including Amirah and her family) and it has now become part and parcel of Bush's global "War on Terror" against "Islamic terrorists". Indeed, he has proclaimed the Philippines to be "The Second Front" in that war.
Dates: October 23-November 1, 2007

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