Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Future of AUT’s Pacific Media Centre under spotlight following director’s departure

AUT City Campus. Image: AUT

One of AUT’s Pacific research centres has been without a director since the end of last year and a lack of clarity around its future is causing division among staff and supporters. Teuila Fuatai reports for The Spinoff.  

SINCE 2007, AUT’s Pacific Media Centre has built a considerable portfolio and solid reputation for its research and reporting on issues throughout the Asia Pacific region, and as a training ground for Pasifika journalists and academics.

However, a month after veteran Pacific correspondent and researcher Professor David Robie retired as director late last year, the centre was packed up without any formal notification or explanation to the remaining AUT staff members associated with it.

The move prompted a social media outcry among supporters and regional journalists, who raised concerns about the centre’s closure and the lack of communication from the university.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Dear editor, we have you in our sights for reporting ‘the truth’ on Papua

A security forces surveillance camera "eyes" on Papuans outside a Malang
police station in East Java. Image: ULMWP

By David Robie, editor of Asia Pacific Report

ASIA PACIFIC REPORT, the Auckland-based independent news and analysis website, has been increasingly targeted by Indonesian trolls over the past three months, involving a spate of “letters to the editor” and social media attacks.

One of the most frequent letter writers, an “Abel Lekahena”, who claims to be a “student” or “writing on behalf of the people of Papua”, has accused APR of “only taking the separatists’ narrative as they played the victim”.

Sometimes he is purportedly a student living in “Yogyakarta”, West Java; at other times he is a migrant from East Nusa Tenggara “currently living in Manokwari, West Papua”. He has written to Asia Pacific Report 10 times in the past eight weeks – twice in one day on December 29, 2020.

“Lekahena”, if that is even his real name, claims in his latest “template” letter on Monday that since January, “the armed separatists prowled in Intan Jaya” and burned a missionary plane on January 6 and he has cited several clashes between pro-independence militants seeking independence for West Papua and the colonial Indonesian security forces.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

The Nine Lives of Kitty K, by Margaret Mills - the launch

 

Author Margaret Mills speaking at the launch of The Nine Lives of Kitty K
at Waiheke Library today. IMAGE: David Robie

Introduction for the book launch of The Nine Lives of Kitty K by Margaret Mills
Waiheke Library, Waiheke, 27 February 2021

AUTHOR Margaret Mills and I go back a long way. All the way back to 10 July 1985 (and a bit before) when a certain environmental ship sank in Auckland Harbour in outrageous circumstances that sent shocked headlines around the world.

The fateful bombing of the Rainbow Warrior by French secret agents has etched its memories deeply into our lives - and the lives of many activists on Waiheke Island. This is how I first came to get to know Margaret as a journalist on board the Greenpeace flagship when researching one of my own books, Eyes of Fire: The Last Voyage of the Rainbow Warrior.

As it turned out, while it might have been the last voyage of the original Warrior, two more campaigning ships of the same name came in its wake.

As we all know, You can't sink a Rainbow!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

West Papuans reject Jakarta plan for extension of special autonomy

 

Papuan students demonstrating against extenson of the special autonomy law for Papua
and provincial expansion plans in front of the Ministry of Home Affairs
in central Jakarta on Monday. IMAGE: APR special

A West Papuan correspondent has compiled and translated this special article for Asia Pacific Report and Cafe Pacific drawn from Papuan news media.

THE INDIGENOUS people of West Papua have rejected the extension of special autonomy and the planned expansion of new provinces announced by the central government of Indonesia.

The rejection comes from grassroots communities across West Papua and Papuan students who are studying in Indonesia and overseas.

Responding to the expansion of a new province, Mimika students demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara, central Jakarta, this week.

Representing Mimika students throughout Indonesia and abroad, about 30 students who are currently studying in Jakarta, took part in the protest on Monday.

A statement received by Asia Pacific Report said that the Mimika regency students throughout Papua, Indonesia, and globally rejected the division of the Central Papua province and return the provincial division to the MRP and DPRP of Papua Province, and return the customary institutions (LEMASA & LEMASKO) to the tribal and Kamoro indigenous communities in Mimika regency.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Concern grows over PMC after shock office ‘closure’ and no director


 
The Sepik storyboard plaque marking the 2007 opening of the Pacific Media Centre
by then Pacific Affairs Minister Luamanuvau Winnie Laban  – gone, relocated?
IMAGE: CAFÉ PACIFIC

February 16, 2021

PACIFIC journalists, media researchers, students and other stakeholders have expressed concern about the future of New Zealand’s Pacific Media Centre after more than two months without a director and a recent shock “closure” of the centre’s office.

The centre, founded in 2007 and described by an external review as a “jewel in the AUT crown”, had worked in its current Communication Studies office in the Sir Paul Reeves Building at the Auckland University of Technology’s city campus since it opened eight years ago.

It was abruptly emptied earlier this month of more than a decade of awards, books, files, publications, picture frames and taonga, including a traditional carved Papua New Guinean storyboard marking the opening of the centre by then Pacific Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban in October 2007.

The official line is that it is a “move” for the centre but there is confusion over the actual location of any replacement space.


It is understood that none of the centre’s staff or the PMC Advisory Board members were consulted, nor were they notified before the removal took place. None were present at the removal.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Politicians, educators, advocates blast Fiji’s ‘barbaric’ deportation of USP academic head


USP's Australian Professor Pal Ahluwalia ... deported today on a flight to Brisbane.
Image: PMW
By Pacific Media Watch

POLITICIANS, educators and civil society advocates around the region today condemned the “barbaric” and “shameful” detention and deportation of the regional University of the South Pacific’s vice-chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia and his wife.

Reformist Professor Ahluwalia, an Australian, and his wife, Sandra, were detained by Fiji authorities at their Suva home late last night and deported on a flight to Brisbane this morning.

The USP Council is due to meet in Suva tomorrow and the chancellor, Nauru Lionel Aingimea said today a statement would be made later.

In Rarotonga, the director of USP’s Cook Islands campus, Dr Debbie Futter-Puati, said the university’s independence was under threat in Fiji.

Responding to questions from The Fiji Times, she questioned how the university’s vice chancellor’s deportation would advantage the Fijian government.

“The University is a private, independent educational facility owned by 12 member countries who must surely take exception to this action,” she said.

“I sincerely hope member countries make a strong and united stance back to Fiji government on this aggressive and inappropriate action.”

‘Outrageous’ act
Human rights activist and former human rights commissioner Shamima Ali described the forceful removal and deportation as “shameful, outrageous and not the Pacific way”.

National Federation Party leader Professor Biman Prasad said at a time when Fiji should be supporting victims of cyclones Yasa and Ana, government was “instead focused [on] its own petty jealousies”.

Social Democratic Liberal Party leader Viliame Gavoka condemned the arrest and deportation of Professor Ahluwalia and his wife as “barbaric treatment”.

The University of the South Pacific Staff Union and Association of USP Staff issued a joint statement today expressing “grave concern and disgust at the FijiFirst government’s” action.

“We are alarmed by the way that the government of Fiji broke into the vice-chancellor’s residence in the middle of the night (03.02.21) and orchestrated the removal of VCP Pal and his wife,” the unions said.

“The manner in which the VCP and his wife were removed is a violation of human rights and due process.

“Given the seriousness of the decision, we demand the Fiji government … provide the justification for this Gestapo tactic.”

The unions said USP was a regional organisation like Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, SPREP, FFA, SPC and demanded the same respect given to any regional organisation.

>>> Popular Café Pacific Posts