Thursday, August 1, 2019

Remembering environmental campaigner Steve Sawyer, 1956-2019

Steve Sawyer, Rongelap campaigner with the original Rainbow Warrior which was bombed by French secret service agents in July 1985 in Auckland, aboard the new Rainbow Warrior during the ship’s first visit to New Zealand. © Nigel Marple/Greenpeace
A tribute to STEVE SAWYER by former Rainbow Warrior captain PETER WILLCOX, who was skipper at the time of the Rongelap evacuation and the French bombing in 1985.

I MET Steve in 1981 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on the first Rainbow Warrior. I was answering a job advert he had placed in the National Fisherman. We spoke in his cabin for a while, and then went to the mess to meet the crew.

One of the things Steve liked about the manager’s job on the RW was that he got to do real physical work as well as intellectual organising. The crew was all giving him a hard time about his painting technique. It seems the day before, Steve, while climbing down into an inflatable (not a rhib by a long shot), had stepped directly into a five-gallon bucket of paint.

That he took the ribbing good-naturedly and laughed with everyone else was to me an excellent sign of life on board that ship.

Steve was the first guy I ever worked for who was younger than I. I was 28, and he 25 in 1981. But I learned fast not to mess with him. He could argue you into a corner quickly, and he did not suffer fools.

Friday, July 12, 2019

'Pacific Media Watch - the Genesis', a new freedom, ethics and plurality doco


The new video produced by Blessen Tom and Sri Krishnamurthi for AUT's Pacific Media Centre.

By


“It’s a bit of a lighthouse” for vital regional news and information, says former contributing editor Alex Perrottet summing up the value of the Pacific Media Centre’s Pacific Media Watch freedom project for New Zealand and Pacific journalism.

The Radio New Zealand journalist is among seven international media people involved in the 23-year-old project featured in a new video released this week.

Pacific Media Watch – The Genesis is a 15-minute mini documentary telling the story of the project launched by two journalists at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) in 1996 and adopted by Auckland University of Technology’s Pacific Media Centre in 2007.

READ MORE: The Pacific Media Watch freedom project

The video was released this week to coincide with the global media freedom conference in London this week.

Pacific Media Watch has become a challenging professional development opportunity for AUT postgraduate students seeking to develop specialist skills in Asia-Pacific journalism.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Global smart tech, ethics and cyber humanism

Dr Mohamed El-Guindy ... time for universities to step up or face an Orwellian future.
Image: David Robie/PMC
 By DAVID ROBIE in Bangkok

A LEADING cyber security expert has called on universities to play a more active role in implementing ethics and legal frameworks for communications smart technology to save society from an Orwellian future.

Dr Mohamed El-Guindy, an Egyptian consultant to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC-ROMENA), says communication research programmes should promote “ethically aligned” design.

In an era of “accelerated addictiveness” to smartphone and other digital technologies, he told media researchers, policy advisers and journalists at the recent 27th Asian Media Information and Communication (AMIC) conference in Bangkok, Thailand, that it was vital for democracy that universities stepped up.

He also said families and parents needed to be more critically active by balancing screen time and promoting “real social interaction”.

Addressing the “persuasive technologies” industry, Dr El-Guindy spoke about being “hooked”, the “scrolling dopamine loop” and the “digital skinner box” models and how they had made smartphones fill psychological needs.

Canadian cartoonist ‘dumped’ after viral Trump cartoon

The "problem" Michael de Adder cartoon ... too close to the truth?
By CAFE PACIFIC
CANADA'S “most read” cartoonist has been “let go” from all newspapers in New Brunswick, apparently over a Trump and migrants cartoon that went viral.

“I’m a proud New Brunswicker. I’ll miss drawing cartoons for my home province,” cartoonist Michael de Adder was quoted by The Daily Cartoonist as saying.

The above cartoon was the one that apparently caused the fuss.

“The highs and lows of cartooning. Today I was just let go from all newspapers in New Brunswick.”

Michael de Adder was born, raised, and educated in New Brunswick province and was a regular presence in its newspapers.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

ABC raid over Afghan Files atrocities allegations 'chilling' for freedom of press

The Afghan Files ... How the ABC reported a "Defence leak exposing deadly secrets of Australia’s
special forces" in 2017. Image: Screen shot of ABC/PMC
By Pacific Media Watch

AN Australian police raid on public broadcaster ABC this week risks having a chilling effect on freedom of the press, its editorial director says.

Police officers left the ABC’s Sydney headquarters more than eight hours after a raid began over allegations it had published classified material.

It related to a series of 2017 stories known as The Afghan Files about alleged misconduct by Australian troops in Afghanistan.

READ MORE: Why the raids on Australian media present a clear threat to democracy

ABC editorial director Craig McMurtrie told RNZ Morning Report the message the raids sent to sources and whistleblowers who wanted to reveal things in the public interest was concerning.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Eric Tapakau, a skilful communicator who loved Bougainville

Eric Tapakau ... a trusted and respected voice and skilful communicator whose advocacy
and ability to connect with local people will be sorely missed. Image: BCL
By Denika Seeto, communications manager of Bougainville Copper Ltd

BOUGAINVILLE Copper Limited (BCL) lost both a dear friend and esteemed colleague with the untimely passing of Eric Tapakau on May 19 after a brief illness.

Tapakau, 44, was a highly regarded member of our Bougainville team having joined the company in September 2017 as media and communications adviser.

As a testament to his capabilities and leadership, he was quickly promoted to a senior project officer position just four months later.

One of Eric’s great qualities was his natural affinity with people and his ability to effectively engage with those at all levels of the community.

He was deeply committed to the betterment of Bougainville and its people and had earned widespread respect.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Pacific media freedom and news ‘black holes’ worsen for World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day coverage on the Pacific Media Centre's Asia Pacific Report. Image: PMC screenshot
 By David Robie 

While Pacific countries have got off rather lightly in a major global media freedom report last month with most named countries apparently “improving”, the reality on World Press Freedom Day is that politicians are becoming more intolerant and belligerent towards news media and information “black holes” are growing.

The Pacific is at the milder end on the scale of media freedom violations – there are no assassinations, murders, gaggings, torture and disappearances.

But the global trend of “hatred of journalists [degenerating] into violence, contributing to an increase of fear” warned about by the Paris-based global watchdog Reporters Without Borders is being reflected in our region.

READ MORE: Pacific countries score well in media freedom index, but reality is far worse

Lack of safety for journalists is a growing concern for media organisations around a world where 80 journalists were killed last year, with 348 being jailed and 60 held hostage.

Friday, May 3, 2019

How a US-backed coup attempt failed in Venezuela

How A US-Backed Coup Attempt Failed In Venezuela from Rising Up With Sonali on Vimeo.
The Rising Up video on Venezuela.

By Rising Up with Sonali

A US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela has failed. On Tuesday April 30th, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has simply declared himself President, gathered in front of supporters along with another leader Leopoldo Lopez, and claimed that military generals were defecting from President Nicolás Maduro.

Tens of thousands of protesters were gathered in Caracas hoping for a downfall of Maduro’s government as US leaders like Vice President Mike Pence, and former Vice President Joe Biden, were tweeting their ardent support for the opposition.

There have been violent clashes with government security forces.

But Maduro declared that the attempt to sway military generals had failed. Mass protests in support of his regime took place elsewhere in Caracas.

In addition to the violence on the streets there is an information war taking place around Venezuela.

Rising Up talks to Lucas Koerner of Venezuela Analysis for an assessment of the crisis.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Assange arrest - a warning from history for journalists

Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London ... an emblem of the times.
Image: John.Pilger.com

 By John Pilger in London

THE GLIMPSE of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage.

Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for "democratic" societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump's Washington, in league with Ecuador's Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair's "paramount crime" is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange's crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Don’t despair about Notre Dame - a rebuilt cathedral could be just as wonderful

The moment the spire collapses while flames are burning the roof of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
Image: AG Photographs via Flickr
By Claire Smith and Jordan Ralph
 

A wonderful icon has been largely destroyed by fire. However, we should not despair.

Part of the reason this loss is so upsetting is because we are immersed in a Western way of thinking that equates authenticity with preserving the original materials used to create an object or building.

But not all societies think like this. Some have quite different notions of what is authentic.

Iconic buildings such as the Catherine Palace in Russia and Japan’s historic monuments of Ancient Nara have been successfully restored, sometimes after great damage, and are today appreciated by millions of people.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

WikiLeaks' Assange arrested to enable US extradition 'for journalism' - act now

Stakeout at the Ecuadorean Embassy and Julian Assange's arrest - at 11min 06sec.
He gives a "thumbs up" sign. Video: Ruptly


By Caitlin Johnstone of Medium

WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange has been arrested and taken into custody by the London’s Metropolitan police, just as WikiLeaks warned days ago was about to happen.

Assange’s lawyer Jen Robinson reports that his arrest is related to an extradition request from the United States, which the British government has until now refused to admit exists.

“Just confirmed: #Assange has been arrested not just for breach of bail conditions but also in relation to a US extradition request,” tweeted Robinson.

“From #Assange: The US warrant was issued in December 2017 and is for conspiracy with Chelsea Manning in early 2010,” Robinson added.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Mike Treen: Stand up to Islamophobia - time to tell Trump-like demagogues to get lost!


An eye witness on Strickland Street, Christchurch, saw one of the suspects being apprehended by New Zealand police after today's attack on two mosques. She said police deliberately rammed the car. Video: RNZ



By Mike Treen, national director of Unite Union

After a beautiful day in which thousands of young people across Aotearoa marched for a better future, a chill has descended across this country.

Far-right murderers have shot innocent Muslims in their holy mosques and livestreamed it on Facebook and 4Chan.

The true face of fascism is revealed once again. This is what happens when you believe the lies that they merely want “free speech” to advocate their genocidal ideology.

They hate people of different ethnicities so much that they are prepared to commit terrorist crimes.

Now more than ever, we must stand up in our millions as the true people of Aotearoa, and fight racism, fascism and Islamophobia in all forms.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Venezuela under siege - some class reflections from Max Lane

Pro self-proclaimed "interim president" Guaido "Trumpeters" at a rally in Caracas. Image: TeleSUR
By Max Lane

IT IS necessary to understand that the conflict in Venezuela manifests a war between classes, not between factions of the one class, as in elections in "normal" bourgeois democracies.. The victor will not be inclined to give the other side a chance to come back into power "at the next election".

We cannot expect the Chavistas to play by "normal" bourgeois electoral rules while the other side tries coups, economic sabotage, actively supports a foreign state's economic sanctions, takes tens of millions from a hostile foreign state, attempts presidential assassination, and kills pro govt activists, while also owning all the private media.

Some expect the so-called liberal democratic rules of the game to be applied - but by one side only.

And what will be the result if the Venezuelan Bolivarian movement plays to lose and is defeated. Just remember two names: Pinochet and Suharto.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Timor-Leste Press Council condemns ‘crime’ against public broadcaster

Timor-Leste Press Council president Virgílio Guterres (second from right) addresses the media briefing
at the council's office in Dili. Image: TLPC
From Pacific Media Watch in Dili

Timor-Leste’s Press Council (TLPC) has strongly condemned political interference in the country’s public broadcasting service (RTTL) newsroom where political-appointed advisers for the president of RTTL have interfered in its coverage.

During a press conference at the TLPC’s offices in Dili, chairperson Virgílio Guterres said it was the first political interference in RTTL’s newsroom since country’s restoration of independence.

“Press Council follows and is informed that after the recent change to the leadership of RTTL, bad interference in the newsroom has been happening. That is why the Press Council is concerned,” he said.

READ MORE: Bob Howarth’s report on Asia-Pacific united Press Councils

The condemnation was about political interference, but there was also physical interference in that certain advisors went in to the newsroom asking to change the news coverage,” Guterres told journalists.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Sacked head of Timor-Leste state broadcaster claims ‘political axe’

Ousted: Gil da Costa found out about his sacking through the news media. Image: RTTL
From Pacific Media Watch

The ousted president of Timor-Leste’s public television network says he has been sacked for political reasons.

Gil da Costa was removed this month from the post of chairperson of the board of directors of Timor-Leste Radio and Television (RTTL) following an audit undertaken by the government – and he had no knowledge of the result.

He has told the Portuguese news agency Lusa that his removal from office – which he first learned about on the news – was a political decision following the audit that was led by his successor.

“I heard from the news that I had been ousted. They did not even talk to me before or about any problem that existed,” Gil da Costa told Lusa yesterday.

Da Costa alleged that he was removed after the audit whose results he never knew without any prior information from the government and without having the opportunity to be heard or give any explanation.

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