From Pacific Media Watch
The Pacific Media Centre's director, Professor David Robie, has called for more emphasis on critical development journalism in the Asia-Pacific region.
Speaking on ABC's Media Report, Dr Robie said there was a tendency globally - and not just in the Pacific - for journalism to be a "bit too cosy with political power".
"Agendas are often set in the media based around press galleries and what's seen as priorities by governments, whereas critical development journalism is really a proclamation - if you like - for ordinary people getting their values and their needs investigated and getting some sort of result from policy changes," Dr Robie told presenter Richard Aedy.
Discussing the state of media freedom in the Pacific, Dr Robie said West Papua was the most neglected region in the Pacific in terms of media coverage, mainly because there was "virtually no ready access into West Papua by journalists".
To report from West Papua without being sanctioned by the Indonesian government was risky for journalists, and even more so for their contacts and sources, added the author of the recently published Don't Spoil My Beautiful Face: Media, Mayhem and Human Rights in the Pacific.
|West Papuan Morning Star flag graphic. |
Image: ABC Media Report
The military backed government of Fiji posed a "huge problem" to the media although there were signs that some journalists were really starting to challenge many of the restrictions placed on them.
Media freedom 'dire'
In a separate interview with Radio Australia, Robie described media freedom in the Pacific as "pretty dire", especially in West Papua, with worries over Fiji.
Speaking in an interview with ABC Radio Australia's Mornings with Phil Kafcaloudes, Dr Robie gave a rundown on media freedom issues.
But there were some "bright spots", he said, including a "gradual opening in debate" in the media in Fiji with editors testing the boundaries with the post-coup general election due in September.
He praised the University of the South Pacific's journalism programme for organising a recent debate and publishing a special edition of its newspaper Wansolwara on media freedom.
|Don't Spoil My Beautiful Face - Little Island Press.|
Praising the book in Scoop/Werewolf, reviewer Dr Alison McCulloch wrote:
“[Robie] touches on some of practitioner issues in the final few chapters of the book, which because of their contemporary relevance, are among the most interesting. He challenges the ‘monocultural’ way we do news, and points to other approaches, among them what he calls ‘critical development journalism’: Instead of seeing everything through the lens of conflict – ‘on the one hand this, on the other hand that’ – which precludes complexity and nuance, how about a journalism that is allowed some “subjectivity” (horror of horrors!); that is sourced from the grassroots not just the elite; that is community and public-interest focused; that is, well, not so “monocultural”?
- The book is available online from AUT Shop, the publishers Little Island Press or Fiji's University of the South Pacific Book Centre
- Listen to the full ABC Media Report interview
- Secret histories of the Pacific - Werewolf review
- The mantra of a free press and the Pacific's political spoilers - Wansolwara review
- David Robie on 'critical development journalism' - Radio NZ review