Saturday, September 24, 2022

New Asia Pacific nonprofit takes up role of PJR publishing for research

Members of the recently formed APMN at a recent general meeting at the
Whānau Community Hub in Auckland's Mt Roskill. IMAGE: APMN

Asia Pacific Report

A new Asia Pacific nonprofit group has taken up the role of publishing the independent Pacific Journalism Review and other research and publication ventures.

The launch of the Asia Pacific Media Network | Te Koakoa Inc. (APMN) has ensured the viability of the New Zealand-based 28-year-old journal that was founded at the University of Papua New Guinea in 1994.

The journal has a focus on Asia Pacific, Australian and New Zealand media research but also publishes widely on global issues.

Chair Dr Heather Devere says the members of the network — mostly in Australia, Fiji and New Zealand — aim to “show support and work for the benefit of First Nations and other communities in Aotearoa and the Asia-Pacific region”.

But, adds Dr Devere, an author and retired director of research practice at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (NCPACS): “The first and most urgent aim is to enable the continued publication of the nonprofit media research journal Pacific Journalism Review”.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Martial law brutality in ‘educational’ musical drama Katips touches raw nerve in NZ

A Gabriela poster honouring martyred women during the Marcos martial law years
in the Philippines on display at the AUT film screening. IMAGE: David Robie/APR


Seven weeks ago the Philippines truth-telling martial law film Katips was basking in the limelight in the country’s national FAMAS academy movie awards, winning best picture and a total of six other awards.

Last week it began a four month “world tour” of 10 countries starting in the Middle East followed by Aotearoa New Zealand on Sunday – hosted simultaneously at AUT South campus and in Wellington and Christchurch.

The screening of Vincent Tañada’s harrowing – especially the graphic torture scenes – yet also joyful and poignant musical drama touched a raw nerve among many in the audience who shared tears and their experiences of living in fear, or in hiding, during the hate-filled Marcos dictatorship.

The martial law denunciations, arbitrary arrests, desaparecidos (“disappeared”), brutal tortures and murders by state assassins in the 1970s made the McCarthy era red-baiting witchhunts in the US seem like Sunday School picnics.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Late Queen Elizabeth’s 1953 Pacific royal tour teaches us much about how we saw the world

The Sunday Graphic's 1953 Royal Tour Picture Album ... "The tour seems to have been
a strange affair, a tour of places rarely visited by royalty alongside some more important,
but equally far-flung outposts of the Commonwealth. It was rather like
Iron Maiden playing in Christchurch or Caracas." IMAGE: PJR screenshot

As global tributes pour in for Queen Elizabeth II, who has died at 96 after an extraordinary reign of 70 years, my colleague PHILIP CASS, editor of Pacific Journalism Review, reflects on the late Queen’s first — of many — royal tours of the Pacific and what it reveals about colonial attitudes of the time.

One of the joys of travelling the world and collecting books is the historical oddities that turn up in the most unexpected places.

I have a splendid copy of the complete works of Shakespeare dating to the Second World War, completely re-set, so the frontispiece notes, due to the original plates having been “destroyed by enemy action”. One wonders at the perfidy of the Luftwaffe in trying to blow up the Bard.

I have a copy of Grove’s encyclopaedia of music from the 1930s which notes with disdain that attempts to make jazz respectable by using an orchestra have failed—and this written several years after Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The same volume also contains a section on the influence of Jews in classical music, noting such important ‘Hebrew’ composers as Mahler.

Both these volumes came from a secondhand bookseller near the bus station in Suva: relics, I suppose, of a long departed British colonial administrator.

Each of these volumes is a window into the past and into attitudes and ideas that have long vanished.

In the year of the Platinum Jubilee of the late Queen Elizabeth II—who died yesterday aged 96 after a 70-year reign—it was therefore timely to find a copy of the Royal Tour Picture Album, a lavishly illustrated record of her 1953 tour of the Commonwealth in my local Salvation Army shop.

The 1953 tour seems to have been a strange affair, a tour of places rarely visited by royalty alongside some more important, but equally far-flung outposts of the Commonwealth. It was rather like Iron Maiden playing in Christchurch or Caracas.

Friday, July 29, 2022

NZ’s Parliament siege, ‘disinformation war’, kava and media change featured in latest PJR

Pacific Journalism Review ... exposing the assault on "truth telling" and a
kava photoessay. IMAGE: Todd Henry/PJR


Frontline investigative articles on Aotearoa New Zealand’s 23-day Parliament protester siege, social media disinformation and Asia-Pacific media changes and adaptations are featured in the latest Pacific Journalism Review.

The assault on “truth telling” reportage is led by The Disinformation Project, which warns that “conspiratorial thought continues to impact on the lives and actions of our communities”, and alt-right video researcher Byron C Clark.

Several articles focus on the Philippines general election with the return of the Marcos dynasty following the elevation of the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr and the crackdown on independent media, including Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate Maria Ressa’s Rappler.

Columbia Journalism School’s Centre for Investigative Journalism director Sheila Coronel writes of her experiences under the Marcos dictatorship: “Marcos is a hungry ghost. He torments our dreams, lays claim to our memories, and feeds our hopes.”

But with Marcos Jr’s landslide victory in May, she warns: “You will be in La-La Land, a country without memory, without justice, without accountability. Only the endless loop of one family, the soundtrack provided by Imelda.”

Friday, July 22, 2022

‘Doorstops’ at the Pacific Forum – why no tough questions on West Papua?

Bodies of civilians being evacuated after an attack by an armed group
at Nogolaid Village, Kenyam District, Nduga Regency, Papua,
last Saturday. IMAGE: Jubi


A LIVELY 43sec video clip surfaced during last week’s Pacific Islands Forum in the Fiji capital of Suva — the first live leaders’ forum in three years since Tuvalu, due to the covid pandemic.

Posted on Twitter by Guardian Australia’s Pacific Project editor Kate Lyons it showed the doorstopping of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare by a melee of mainly Australian journalists.

An aloof Sogavare was being tracked over questions about security and China’s possible military designs for the Melanesian nation.


A doorstop on security and China greets Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh
Sogavare (in blue shirt) at the Pacific islands Forum in Suva last week.
IMAGE: Twitter screenshot @MsKateLyons
But Lyons made a comment directed more at questioning journalists themselves about their newsgathering style:

“Australian media attempt to get a response from PM Sogavare, who has refused to answer questions from international media since the signing of the China security deal, on his way to a bilateral with PM Albanese. He stayed smilingly silent.”

Friday, June 10, 2022

Filipino migrants call on NZ to halt military aid to Philippines over Marcos election

Filipinos in the Wellington meeting make their pledge simultaneously with the
Auckland group for “history, truth and democracy” in the Philippines.
IMAGE: Del Abcede/APR


MIGRANTS and overseas Filipinos in Aotearoa New Zealand have called on the governments of both Australia and New Zealand to halt all military and security aid to the Philippines in protest over last month’s “fraudulent” general election.

At simultaneous meetings in Auckland and Wellington, a new broad coalition of social justice and community campaigners endorsed a statement pledging: “Never forget, never again martial law!”

“Bongbong” Marcos Jr, the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr, was elected President in a landslide ballot on May 9 and will take office at the end of this month.

Philippine presidential election frontrunner Bongbong Marcos
Philippine President-elect Bongbong Marcos Jr wooing voters at a campaign rally in Borongan, Eastern Samar. Image: Rappler/Bongbong FB

His father ruled the Philippines with draconian leadership — including 14 years of martial law — between 1965 and 1986 until he was ousted by a People Power uprising.

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