Sunday, December 2, 2018

West Papuan 'independence day' - nationalist militia attack rally in Surabaya

A bloodied Papuan student attacked during yesterday's December 1 Free West Papua rally
in Surabaya, Indonesia. Image: Human rights sources
From the Pacific Media Centre

By Tony Firman of Tirto in Surabaya


A protest action by the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP) in Indonesia’s East Java provincial capital of Surabaya yesterday demanding self-determination for West Papua has been attacked by a group of ormas (social or mass organisations).

Police later raided Papuan student dormitories in the evening and detained 233 students in a day of human rights violations as Indonesian authorities cracked down on demonstrations marking December 1 – “independence day”, according to protesters.

The group, who came from a number of different ormas, including the Community Forum for Sons and Daughters of the Police and Armed Forces (FKPPI), the Association of Sons and Daughters of Army Families (Hipakad) and the Pancasila Youth (PP), were calling for the Papuan student demonstration to be forcibly broken up.

READ MORE: Surabaya counterprotest, 300 arrested in West Papua flag demonstrations

“This city is a city of [national] heroes. Please leave, the [state ideology of] Pancasila is non-negotiable, the NKRI [Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] is non-negotiable”, shouted one of the speakers from the PP.

At 8.33am, a number of PP members on the eastern side of Jl. Pemuda began attacking the AMP by throwing rocks and beating them with clubs. Police quickly moved in to block the PP members then dragged them back.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

New Caledonia blockade tension fails to mar French PM’s talks on future

French security forces arrive in force to deal with protesters demonstrating over the independence vote
defeat near St Louis, Noumea. Image: Screenshot - Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes
By David Robie in Nouméa

French security forces moved in today to clean up the main road near an indigenous Kanak tribal area after a day of tension and rioting failed to mar a lightning visit by French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe and post-independence referendum discussions.

Philippe flew in yesterday morning from Vietnam for a day of meetings with political leaders, customary chiefs and voting commission officials to take stock of the historic referendum on Sunday.

While the people of New Caledonia voted to remain French with a resounding 56.4 percent of the vote, it was a lower winning margin than had been widely predicted in the face of an impressive mobilisation by pro-independence groups.

The yes vote was 43.6 percent but Kanak voters were already a minority of the restricted electorate for this vote that included Caldoche (settlers), descendants of a French penal colony for Algerian and Paris commune dissidents, and people of Asian and Wallisian ancestry.

A record 80.63 percent turnout with 141,099 voters in a largely calm and uneventful referendum day has opened the door for serious negotiations about the future of New Caledonia.

READ MORE - David Robie's analysis of the referendum:
Part 1: New Caledonia vote stirs painful memories – and a hopeful future
Part 2: Kanaky independence campaign rolls on ... encouraged by ballot result

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A future in Pacific journalism in the age of 'media phobia' - USP media awards

Fiji Sun managing editor business Maraia Vula (middle) flanked by USP Journalism coordinator
Dr Shailendra Singh (left), joint winners Koroi Tadulala and Elizabeth Osifelo
and Professor David Robie (right). Image: Harry Selmen/Wansolwara
Keynote address by Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie at The University of the South Pacific Journalism Awards,19 October 2018, celebrating 50 years of the university's existence.

Kia Ora Tatou and Ni Sa Bula

For many of you millennials, you’re graduating and entering a Brave New World of Journalism … Embarking on a professional journalism career that is changing technologies at the speed of light, and facing a future full of treacherous quicksands like never before.

When I started in journalism, as a fresh 18-year-old in 1964 it was the year after President Kennedy was assassinated and I naively thought my hopeful world had ended, Beatlemania was in overdrive and New Zealand had been sucked into the Vietnam War.

And my journalism career actually started four years before the University of the South Pacific was founded in 1968.

Being a journalist was much simpler back then – as a young cadet on the capital city Wellington’s Dominion daily newspaper, I found the choices were straight forward. Did we want to be a print, radio or television journalist?

The internet was unheard of then – it took a further 15 years before the rudimentary “network of networks” emerged, and then another seven before computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and complicated journalism.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Paga Hill iconic human rights documentary banned from PNG festival

Activist lawyer Joe Moses as he appears in a Frontline Insight item about the Paga Hill struggle for justice
in Papua New Guinea. Video: Reuters Foundation
By Pacific Media Watch

An internationally acclaimed investigative documentary about Paga Hill community’s fight for justice from the illegal eviction and demolition of their homes in Papua New Guinea’s capital of Port Moresby has been banned from screening today at the PNG Human Rights Festival.

“The ban highlights the lingering limits on free speech in our country and the continued attempts to censor our story of resistance against gross human rights violations,” claimed Paga Hill community leader and lawyer Joe Moses, the main character in The Opposition film who had to seek exile in the United Kingdom after fighting for his community’s rights.

“This censorship comes as a deep disappointment for my community who have suffered greatly over the past six years.”

The Opposition tells the David-and-Goliath battles of a community evicted, displaced, abandoned – their homes completely demolished at the hands of two Australian-run companies, Curtain Brothers and Paga Hill Development Company, and the PNG state.

What was once home to 3000 people of up to four generations, Paga Hill is now part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit “AELM Precinct” which will take place this November.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

John Pilger: 'Hold the front page. The reporters are missing'

John Pilger ... how "fearful 'democracies' regress behind a media facade of narcissistic spectacle".
Image: Media Lens

By John Pilger
Foreword to Propaganda Blitz published today.*

The death of Robert Parry earlier this year felt like a farewell to the age of the reporter. Parry was "a trailblazer for independent journalism", wrote Seymour Hersh, with whom he shared much in common.

Hersh revealed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the secret bombing of Cambodia, Parry exposed Iran-Contra, a drugs and gun-running conspiracy that led to the White House. In 2016, they separately produced compelling evidence that the Assad government in Syria had not used chemical weapons. They were not forgiven.

Driven from the "mainstream", Hersh must publish his work outside the United States. Parry set up his own independent news website Consortium News, where, in a final piece following a stroke, he referred to journalism's veneration of "approved opinions" while "unapproved evidence is brushed aside or disparaged regardless of its quality."

Although journalism was always a loose extension of establishment power, something has changed in recent years. Dissent tolerated when I joined a national newspaper in Britain in the 1960s has regressed to a metaphoric underground as liberal capitalism moves towards a form of corporate dictatorship. This is a seismic shift, with journalists policing the new "groupthink", as Parry called it, dispensing its myths and distractions, pursuing its enemies.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Nuclear free and independent Pacific - how the zone began 33 years ago and what now?

 

From Pacific Media Watch


RADIO 531pi Breakfast Talanoa host Ma'a Brian Sagala has talked about the Rarotonga Treaty with Café Pacific publisher David Robie.
It was hugely significant for the Pacific. It was sort of like a threshold for the Pacific really standing up to the big powers and predated New Zealand’s nuclear-free law.
It was a huge step forward. It was not only a declaration against France, which was detonating nuclear weapons at the time, but also against the US and Britain that had also conducted many nuclear tests in the Pacific.
The South Pacific Nuclear Free Pacific Zone Treaty 33 years ago ushered in a radical era for the Pacific, which predated NZ’s own nuclear-free law.

The Treaty of Rarotonga formalise the Pacific nuclear-free zone on 6 August 1985 and New Zealand's own New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act followed two years later on 8 June 1987.

David also talks about the Rainbow Warrior’s humanitarian voyage to Rongelap to help the islanders move to another home across the Pacific Ocean. He is the author of the book Eyes of Fire about nuclear testing in the Pacific.

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