Monday, April 20, 2015

Fiji needs independent watchdog to watch MIDA for future elections

WHILE the Multinational Observer Group’s final report on the first post-coup Fiji general election since 2006 last week found the poll “credible” - as expected based on its preliminary report in spite of the cries of "fraud" by critics - it has offered a raft of recommendations for improvement, including with the news media.

Among these recommendations is a call for an independent watchdog for the controversial Fiji Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA), which had a mixed role during the elections.

Arguing that should MIDA continue its role in future elections, the final MOG report said there was a need for “an independent institution to adjudicate complaints about its actions”.

Citing the 2013 Constitution’s section 17 providing for freedom of “speech, expression and publication”, MOG was in general complimentary about the Fiji news media, saying they “made good efforts to cover the election”.

And thus political parties were “to varying degrees” able to communicate to the public.

Friday, April 17, 2015

ANZAC Day - now we're fighting to spy for torturers and to hide how NZ soldiers die?

Cartoon: Malcolm Evans/TDB

By MARTYN BRADBURY of The Daily Blog

SO this ANZAC Day we are fighting to spy for torturers and hiding the manner in which NZ soldiers die?

While we stand at attention and bow our head solemnly to do our pious bit for ANZAC Day, what exactly are we fighting for this year?

While we stand at attention and bow our head solemnly to do our pious bit for ANZAC Day, what exactly are we fighting for this year?

Apart from siding with butchers and dictators who have helped create the new generation of Muslim fanaticism, it appears we are fighting to spy for torturers and the ability to hide how NZ soldiers die in battle.

Our need to worship the dead for some sense of identity has blinded us to the mistakes that drive war and that’s why we are silent on the outrageous hypocrisy of entering a new war to suck up to America.

The Malcolm Evans gallery at The Daily Blog
Cartoon: Malcolm Evans/TDB

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Time to end West Papua atrocities, isolation – and back its Pacific claims

The "Free West Papua" item on TVNZ's independent programme Tagata Pasifika. West Papuan membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group is now critical.


THE TIME is long overdue for ending more than a half century of isolation for West Papua, after decades of systematic oppression from Indonesian “security” forces following Dutch colonial rule.

But instead of honouring the promise of The Hague for West Papuan self-determination, expansionist Jakarta send in paratroopers to Irian Jaya in a disastrous campaign in 1962, and “stole” Papuan independence aspirations with a sham Act of Free Choice under the United Nations banner seven years later. 

A shameful betrayal by the West and the United Nations. Four decades of genocide has followed with impunity while the world has largely ignored the plight of West Papuans.

However, things are gradually changing. Social media and the increasing courage of eyewitnesses to speak out are producing a compelling dossier of damning evidence against systematic human rights violations by Indonesian forces.

Whereas in recent years, West Papua has been something of a "black hole" or "blind spot" for media coverage from countries such as Australia and New Zealand - and even much of the Pacific - the tide seems to be turning.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bloody aftermath of Paniai massacre in West Papua captured on video

The four-minute video, shot by citizen journalists and released publicly for the first time today, includes first-hand testimony from survivors of the Paniai massacre in West Papua and graphic footage taken in the immediate aftermath. Video: Minority Rights Group International

NEW VIDEO footage showing the bloody aftermath of the Paniai massacre in West Papua highlights the urgent need for Indonesia to hold an independent and transparent investigation into the tragedy, says Minority Rights Group International (MRG).

A still from the MRG video.
In December 2014 four unarmed Papuan teenagers were killed and 17 more Papuans were injured when the Indonesian army and police opened fire on a group of peaceful protesters in Paniai.

They had gathered to protest an earlier incident of violence by the Indonesian security forces.

The four-minute video, shot by citizen journalists and released publicly for the first time today, includes first-hand testimony from survivors of the massacre as well as graphic footage taken in the immediate aftermath.

"This film gives a disturbing insight into the Indonesian military’s casual disregard for the lives of Indigenous Papuans,’ said TAPOL's Esther Cann.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New Dawn FM and the Bougainville mining lobby machine?

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH’S Alistar Kata has just filed an interesting report about the virtual “shut out” of no-mining critics in Bougainville in the lead-up to the elections next month. The report was about a head-to-head interview with the Bougainville Freedom Movement’s long-time campaigner Vikki John and New Dawn FM broadcaster Aloysius Laukai, both past award winners for their contrasting roles.

John claimed the “ownership” of news websites was hampering opposition news, saying this was another form of “brainwashing” by the company that is angling for resumption of copper mining at Panguna, the mine which triggered the 10-year Bougainville civil war. However, Laukai was at great pains to reject any alleged links to the powerful Bougainville Copper Limited mining lobby.

Last month’s new mining law passed by the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s legislature last month has paved the way to make reopening of the mine possible.

“No, we have no links and that’s why we have put up heaps of stories and cover events such as the mining forums,” Laukai told Kata. “There must be some confusion with us and another Bougainville news website.”

He was probably referring to Bougainville24 news website, which is produced by Bougainville Copper Ltd. But that isn’t the end of the story.

According to the European Shareholders of BCL, they have been backing New Dawn FM and have promoted an appeal to channel funds to the community broadcaster, founded with UNESCO support in 2008.

A link to this was revealed in a posting on the Pacific Media Centre website today, which referred to ABG and Bougainville Copper Foundation funding for New Dawn. The European Shareholders webpage goes like this:

The European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper New Dawn appeal.
Radio New Dawn on Bougainville has been founded a couple of years ago. It is the first free network made by Bougainvilleans for Bougainvilleans. At the present, the radio station is in threat of shutting down.

Small revenues from local businesses and the Autonomous Bougainville Government cannot guarantee its existence. Bankruptcy would be fatal.

Radio New Dawn is the only genuine voice of Bougainville compared to all other media who report from PNG’s capital Port Moresby – some 1000 kilometres away. 

Aloysius Laukai, manager and chief editor, [has] been honored for his work in the past. But honors alone cannot assure the broadcaster’s survival. The ESBC appreciate a lot [of] the crew’s information work. After years of uncertainty during the Bougainville crisis, Radio New Dawn created a new public awareness and self-confidence on the island.

Therefore, the European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper (ESBC) are proud of supporting this shining project. This is in the interest of locals and all those from abroad who benefit from Radio New Dawn’s internet blog that updates information on the positive development in Bougainville.  Financial funding will be highly welcome.

We strongly hope that our initiative will be successful and help to maintain Radio New Dawn’s services in future. Please find our account information here! You also can send funds directly to Radio New Dawn on Bougainville.
Late last year, on October 7, the BCL mining website announced that New Dawn FM had turned to modern mobile phone apps and social media to cover news in remote parts of Bougainville region.

“Station manager Aloysius Laukai now has 15 staff members working under him as the team seek to build awareness on the biggest issues affecting Bougainville,” reported the BCL website.

“Laukai and his reporters use WhatsApp and Viber, cross-platform mobile apps, to exchange information and file stories.”

It was also reported that a radio infrastructure upgrade was being funded to enable FM coverage across the whole region. Who was paying the bills? “Jointly funded by the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Bougainville Copper Foundation," said the BCL website.

Bougainville's two-week regional elections next month begin on May 11.

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