Saturday, June 19, 2021

How the 'voice of the voiceless' kaupapa became derailed at the Pacific Media Centre


Screenshot from the Pacific Media Centre video The PMC Project
by former student project editor Alistar Kata.

COMMENT: By DAVID ROBIE, founding director of the Pacific Media Centre

It really is bizarre. After 26 months of wrangling, stakeholders’ representations and appeals by the Pacific Media Centre participants to Auckland University of Technology management, in the end the innovative unit remains in limbo.

In fact, sadly it seems like a dead end.

In my 28 years as a media educator across four institutions in four countries I have never experienced as something as blatant, destructive and lacking in transparency as this.

Six weeks after I retired as founding director of the centre last December, the PMC office in AUT’s Sir Paul Reeves building was removed by packing up all the Pacific taonga, archives, books and files supporting student projects without consulting the stakeholders.

And then the award-winning staff running the centre on a de facto basis were apparently marginalised. 

As former Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty noted: “I am really shocked that a vibrant well developed centre is being treated like this - what is wrong with this institution?”

Sunday, June 6, 2021

West Papua, Palestine and other critical issues – why is NZ media glossing over them?


Indonesian police carry a body in the current crackdown against pro-independence Papuans
near Timika, Papua. IMAGE:


International reporting has hardly been a strong feature of New Zealand journalism. No New Zealand print news organisation has serious international news departments or foreign correspondents with the calibre of such overseas media as The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

It has traditionally been that way for decades. And it became much worse after the demise in 2011 of the New Zealand Press Association news agency, which helped shape the identity of the country for 132 years and at least provided news media with foreign reporting with an Aotearoa perspective fig leaf.

It is not even much of an aspirational objective with none of the 66 Voyager Media Awards categories recognising international reportage, unlike the Walkley Awards in Australia that have just 34 categories but with a strong recognition of global stories (last year’s Gold Walkley winner Mark Willacy of ABC Four Corners reported “Killing Field” about Australian war crimes in Afghanistan).

Aspiring New Zealand international reporters head off abroad and gain postings with news agencies and broadcasters or work with media with a global mission such as Al Jazeera.

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