Tuesday, February 18, 2014

'Protect our reporters' - radio interview on The Wire

REPORTERS all over the planet die to tell stories. From the Philippines where journalists were massacred in Maguindanao on the southern island of Mindanao in 2009, to Mexico where journalists families are targeted with threats of torture.

The Pacific is a far cry from these situations yet only one Pacific country made it to the top 10 in press freedom for 2014 - New Zealand at ninth.

This is not a one off occasion. In 2013, the situation occurred where New Zealand was also the only Pacific country in the top 10. 

Australia was 28th in the 2014 index.

The highest placed Pacific Islands country was Samoa, ranked 40th, closely followed by Papua New Guinea at 44.

Shirley Shackleton beside the memorial to the Balibo Five newsmen
killed by Indonesian troops in East Timor in 1975.
One of the dead men was her husband
Greg Shackleton. Photo: Da Prisoner/The Wire

Other countries surveyed in the Pacific region were Tonga (63), Timor-Leste (77) and Fiji (107).

Reporters without Borders, the author of the 2014 report states that countries that promote their democracy as a land of equality are using security concerns to interfere with freedom of information and as such investigative journalism is often the victim.

Australian Community Radio's The Wire talks to leaders in regional media to find out what has happened in the past and what the future holds for the protection of journalists.

Professor David Robie, Director of AUT University's Pacific Media Centre, who has a book being published next month on the media and human rights in the Pacific, talks about the "duty of care" and the climate of killing journalists with impunity in the Asia-Pacific region.

He also talked about the extra risks that freelance or independent journalists face.

Producer: Shannon Gillies
Professor David Robie- Director of the Pacific Media Centre, AUT University
Cait McMahon - MD for the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, Asia Pacific

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