Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Journo killing 'intolerable violation' in Philippines

While UNESCO has condemned the murder of Filipino journalist Robert Sison and called on Philippines authorities to protect media workers, more than 500 people from Asia and the Pacific have gathered in Manila for a major regional media conference. UNESCO director-general Kochiro Matsuura said the targeting of journalists was an 'intolerable violation' of freedom of expression. Sison, 60, was the second journalist killed in the Philippines this year and the 56th since 2001. Meanwhile, the vice-president and a former president of the Philippines have been keynote speakers at this 17th Asian Media, Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) conference at the historic Manila Hotel. Vice-President Noli "Kanayan" De Castro, once a broadcaster himself, urged the media to remind people, governments and institutions that compassion and generosity are needed to fight the forces of poverty and injustice. The media needs to keep shaking governments out of their complacency. Former President Fidel Ramos appealed to communication students and journalists, calling for "sharing, caring and daring" from the media in dealing with the Millenium Development Goals. A new Pacific media book, South Pacific Island Communications: Regional Perspectives, Local Issues, co-published by AMIC, AUT University's Pacific Media Centre and the University of the South Pacific, was one of six publications launched at the conference. An interesting chapter by Robert Iroga, former editor of the Solomon Star, with some interesting insights when you work at a newspaper with threatening gunmen in your face.
On Wednesday, Sarah Baker and Jeanie Benson presented a stimulating paper, "The suitcase, the samurai and the pumpkin," about Asian crime and how it is framed by NZ media.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cora stirs ripples in Pacific pond

Cora Fabros dropped into New Zealand a week ago on the first stage of her tour exposing the impact of foreign military bases on sovereignty ... especially for indigenous peoples. She may not have made a mark yet in the mainstream media, but she has certainly stirred some ripples in the South Pacific pond. She is no stranger to New Zealand, having been here on several occasions with her previous Nuclear-free and Independent Pacific work. Nowadays lawyer Fabros is Asia-Pacific coordinator of the Manila-based International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases. She is a guest of NZ's Anti-Bases Campaign and is visiting spy bases around the country - including Waihopai (above), the base that attracted international attention when Ploughshare protesters sneaked into the site in a daring "raid" and deflated one of the large inflatable domes covering a radar dish. Comments by Cora reported in today's Marlborough Express:
"Information gleaned by the Waihopai Valley spy base is giving the United
States an unfair economic advantage ...

"Fabros described April's attack as a "very creative" way of bringing
attention to the facility.
"I really admire the courage of our friends who did this."
"She said Waihopai was ... spying on the communications of the Pacific Islands and the
information was part of the pool of data used by the US.
"That to me is very deceptive and a violation of the sovereignty of
independent nations."
Cora is speaking at the Pacific Media Centre on Thursday, July 17, 5-6.30pm, WT032, AUT Tower, Ground Floor, AUT University, Auckland (opposite Aotea Square). Don't miss the chance to hear her. More info? Contact Del Abcede: (+649) 921 9388.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Flosse to sue France 3 TV over JPK 'defamation'

Controversial Senator Gaston Flosse, the conservative Tahitian politician who has dominated political life in French Polynesia for more than two decades, plans to sue France 3 television over a documentary broadcast last week. The programme, Death in the Tropics, implicated Flosse in claims about the 1997 disappearance of a Tahiti journalist, Jean-Pascal Couraud (pictured), widely believed to have been murdered. The programme, which was broadcast in Tahiti and in France, explored the mystery surrounding the affair which has been at the heart of a stalled judicial investigation.
Flosse, president of French Polynesia’s local government when Couraud - known as "JPK" - disappeared, was quoted in Tahitipresse as saying he had been accused of "the most abominable deeds".
He plans to file a defamation writ because the TV programme - in the Tempo investigative series - didn't give him any right of reply in the face of the allegations. Flosse claims the programme violated the basic principles of democracy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pan-Pacific radio group in hot seat again

Cyberspace is running hot over at Google's PIMA.nius group over the future of Pacific Radio Network and its pan-Pacific radio stations, including NiuFM. The network recently announced restructuring and staff were invited to reapply for jobs. Several jobs are on the line. And tomorrow is D-Day for redundancies, according to the coconet wireless. Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA) this week posted a statement saying that it accepted the need for restructuring and called for patience. But chairman Aaron Taouma says this "process is unfortunate" and his statement shouldn't be interpreted as PIMA backing for the PRN move.
"Let's make this a positive new beginning for Pacific media and Pacific radio broadcasting," he says. "Get rid of old shackles and bonds and begin again." PIMA seeks to work in the interests of all Pasifika media people. And it can be tricky balancing interests.
Some of the PIMA.nius online posters have been calling for some sort of a public debate. Their argument runs that, as the network is a community broadcaster and receives considerable public funding, it ought to consult more with a broader Pasifika media fraternity, at least. The pro-debate lobby is being led by Will 'Ilolahia and others who have been frustrated at what they think is stonewalling by both PIMA and PRN. So Will has set up his own blog to hear from disgruntled NiuFM fans who want a voice. If you have something to say, then you know where to go. The word seems to be that PIMA is having a rethink and might organise a wider "general media forum". A good idea.

Stop Press: Since I posted this item, a nutter has apparently run amok on Will's Pasifika broadcast gripes blog. Somebody closely associated with NiuFM - we all know who she is, of course - "TellTheTruth" can hardly get anywhere near the truth through her fog of personal abuse. If this is the sort of hack on the radio station's payroll, no wonder there are so many problems in Ponsonby. If she thinks she is onto something about my protracted and well-known clashes with PINA (now ancient history), then where has she been over the past 20 years? Check this out for balance for the real story behind her selected letters clogging the PiTV blog. She also might actually do some journo's homework and read my 2004 book Mekim Nius! Jason Brown has also filed a riposte on PiTV. For the record, Cafe Pacific has no particular interest in NiuFM - although we want to see it prosper for the good of the Pasifika community. We raise media issues as needed throughout the region as they arise.

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