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.

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