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Archive for August, 2014

Top 10 things you need to know about Fiji’s new electoral system


Fiji Elections Office video on how to vote.

Pacific Scoop:
Backgrounder – By Pacific Scoop’s Fiji Elections 2014 editor Thomas Carnegie

With the first Fiji general election since the 2006 coup less than three weeks away, it is important to understand Fiji’s new electoral system.

pacificfijielections logo 200wideHere is Asia-Pacific Journalism’s guide to 10 important things to know when casting your vote.

1. What is the proportional voting system?
Fiji’s voting system was established with an Electoral Decree, introduced by the military backed government which came into force in March 2014. The Decree establishes a proportional voting system for the elections. Read more »

NZ failing support for threatened Pasifika languages, say linguists

Tongan school dancers in the annual Polyfest in Auckland ... keeping the language alive. Image: Spasifik magazine

Tongan school dancers in the annual Polyfest in Auckland … keeping the language alive. Image: Spasifik magazine

New Zealand doesn’t have enough parents from Pacific communities – Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau in particular – speaking indigenous languages to be able to speak to their children. Asia-Pacific Journalism reports on a threat to vulnerable languages.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Eva Corlett

Pasifika and Māori cultural well-being is under threat through the decline of native language speakers – with some Pacific languages tipped to disappear this generation if the New Zealand government does not act now, say many linguists.

A recent Victoria University report indicates growing inequality in areas such as smoking, obesity, employment, tertiary degrees, beneficiary agreements and income of Pacific and Māori people within New Zealand.

“Loss of language always occurs first among the most marginalised and disadvantaged groups in society,” says University of Auckland Professor Stephen May – an international and national authority on bilingualism and language rights – as Tongan Language Week opens tomorrow. Read more »

SPREP forges partnership on marine conservation

Press Release – Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment

‘It’s in our DNA to conserve the ocean’ Cook Islands Prime Minister Pacific islands talk marine parks as SPREP forges partnership on marine conservation Read more »

Choiseul – first climate change town to move in bid to beat tsunamis

Caption

A welcome move … some of the Choiseul Bay community check out the relocation plans. Image: Dr Simon Albert/UQ

Fear of tsunamis and the threat of rising sea levels has made a provincial capital in the Solomon Islands decide to relocate its entire population – the first time this has happened on this scale in the Pacific. Asia-Pacific Journalism reports on the challenges of relocating.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Elesha Edmonds

Residents of a provincial capital in the Solomon Islands have to always keep their eyes on the tide as they live in fear of being flooded by the ocean.

Choiseul, a township on Taro Island, which is the provincial capital of Choiseul Province, is home to about 1000 people and sits less than two metres above sea level, making the island vulnerable to storm surges and tsunamis.

It has reached the point that authorities have decided relocation is the only long-term solution to combat the existing and future risks of climate change. Read more »

SIDS conference in Samoa to think about strategies for climate change

apj P2 markus bank SIDS_image 425wide

Next week’s SIDS conference on climate change in Samoa is critically important for small island states. Image: SIDS 2014

As the first Pacific Island town faces relocation due to climate change, Pacific countries will meet at a United Nations conference in Samoa next week to try and develop strategies for the Western Pacific. Asia-Pacific Journalism reports.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Marcus Bank

The future of the low-lying Pacific Island nations such as Kiribati and the Marshall Islands republic is at serious risk because of climate change.

Rising sea levels could reach one metre within 100 years, and by 20 cm within the next 20 to 30 years, leading scientists told a World Science Week seminar in Auckland last week.

The 22 states of the UN Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) summit will meet in Apia, capital of Samoa, to discuss the sustainability of the Pacific Islands next week. Read more »

‘Sorcery’ controversy rages in PNG, but advocates call for gender equality


Photojournalist Vlad Sokhin talks about his “Crying Meri” imagery. Video: VS

Papua New Guinea is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women to live in. While a series of images by photojournalist Vlad Sokhin are shocking, Asia-Pacific Journalism finds there are contrasting views about the real problem.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Lucas Dahlström

“Rasta was accused of sorcery by the people in her village, after the death of a young man. She was set upon by a crowd at his funeral then beaten and strangled before she escaped. She lost her hand in the attack.”

This quote is from Russian photojournalist and filmmaker  Vlad Sokhin’s newly published documentary Crying Meri.

The picture of Rasta shows a pair of eyes that has suffered from violence and accusation. She covers the rest of her face with an arm that ends where a hand once was. Read more »

Poet weaves together a ‘living memory’ of the Pacific

Leilani Tamu

Poet Leilani Tamu … “Growing up in New Zealand we didn’t learn much about the Pacific and its history.” Image: Spasifik Magazine

Through colonialism a lot of Pacific knowledge has been erased because it has not been taught. But Asia-Pacific Journalism meets a poet who has rediscovered her history through study and “living memory”.

Pacific Scoop:
Profile – By Sonja Schalin

our Pacific
they entered her and scoured her
for gold and silver
they named us and translated us
into their own way
of seeing the world

These are the opening lines of Leilani Tamu’s poem “Paradise Pasifika”. The poem shows a strong message of a hidden story about the Pacific Islands Tamu is expressing with her new collection of poems called The Art of Excavation.

“Growing up in New Zealand we didn’t learn much about the Pacific and its history,” she says.

“There weren’t a lot of resources that I could access in the libraries. That’s why I decided to study history at university.” Read more »

IFJ launches petition protesting against East Timor’s ‘press law’

East Timorese journalists ... an endangered species in the face of the controversial media law. Image: Cafe Pacific

East Timorese journalists … an endangered species in the face of the controversial media law. Image: Cafe Pacific

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the Pacific Media Watch news desk

The Sydney-based Asia-Pacific office of the International Federation of Journalists has launched a global petition protesting against a controversial ‘press law’ passed earlier this year by Parliament, partially rejected by the Appeal Court as “unconstitutional” and awaiting presidential approval.

The IFJ’s online petition describes the law as “incompatible with the basic principles of freedom of expression, the practical workings of a free media and the needs of a modern democracy”.

The petition added: “Journalism should not be criminalised. Journalists should not be licensed at the whim of government appointed committees.” Read more »

Auckland Demand for Cruises Sees New Cruise Specialist Open

Press Release – House of Travel

Aucklands growing demand for luxury international cruise holidays has seen the opening of a new travel agency in St Heliers with a special focus on cruise travel. Read more »

Advocates, journalists criticise NZ media for ‘ignoring’ Pacific


Alistar Kata’s multimedia report for Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Alistar Kata

Journalists and human rights advocates talked to by Pacific Scoop this week believe New Zealand media “ignores” many critical news stories and issues about the region.

With recent political changes in the Pacific region – including the post-coup Fiji elections due next month, the debate over extraction industries in New Caledonia, and human rights violations and media law changes in West Papua, the lack of New Zealand’s mainstream media coverage has been criticised.

Radio New Zealand International deputy editor Don Wiseman says “without a doubt” when asked about the lack of coverage of issues in the Pacific region. Read more »

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