Pacific Scoop

Archive for August, 2015

Indonesian law outlawing presidential insults unlikely to pass, say analysts

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President Widodo … distancing himself from the draft presidential defamation law. Image: DW

A draft Indonesian Criminal Code amendment, condemed by critics as undermining freedom of speech, is interpreted to mean that burning pictures of the president and vice-president and mocking them in public are insults carrying heavy jail penalties. But, asks Asia-Pacific Journalism, will the law pass?

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Michael Neilson

Fears that “authoritarian-era” defamation laws will be reinstated in Indonesia are unfounded, say observers of the country’s political scene.

Indonesian activists and journalists expressed outrage earlier this month, after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said he supported a proposal by the government to re-introduce criminal charges for insulting the president in the draft of a Criminal Code (KUHP) amendment.

Sony Ambudi, an Indonesian human rights activist of the Asia-Pacific Human Rights Coalition (APHRC) who currently resides in New Zealand, says Jokowi is merely testing out other members of Parliament, and seeing what he can get away with. Read more »

College students turn up the heat in the kitchen

Press Release – NSSCC

Auckland, 28 August 2015: Gas hobs flaring, knives chopping, saucepans simmering and teamwork at its best, finalists in the National Secondary Schools Culinary Challenge (NSSCC) rose to the challenge today as they competed for the top honour. Read more »

NZDF Lends a Helping Hand to Honiara

Press Release – New Zealand Defence Force

Providing first aid courses was just one of the community empowering activities that sailors from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Offshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS WELLINGTON took part in this week in Ho-niara. Read more »

New Japanese weapons bill stirs nuclear anxiety in the Pacific

Asia Pacific Journalism’s Niklas Pedersen reports on a controversial new Japanese piece of legislation. Video: APJ

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Niklas Pedersen

A new bill due to be passed by Japan’s diet next month could counteract the longstanding Japanese opposition against nuclear weapons.

Japan’s Defence Minister, Gen Nakatani, said that the bill would formally allow the military to transport nuclear weapons of foreign forces.

This proposition goes against one of the three non-nuclear principles of Japan, which states that the country shall not possess, manufacture or let nuclear weapons be transported on their soil. Read more »

PNG campus protesters shot at by police, report Goroka students

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A student checks out smashed fixtures at a University of Goroka campus building after the protest against the vice-chancellor. Image: ABC Pacific Beat

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch

Students protesting at a university in eastern Papua New Guinea have been shot at during a confrontation with police, a student there has said.

Local media reported at least two students were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds after clashes at the University of Goroka in Eastern Highlands province.

Shantel Lui, a student at the university, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat programme the protesters were marching on Thursday to call for the resignation of vice-chancellor Dr Gairo Onagi. Read more »

Cook Islands to benefit from Tropic Twilight

Press Release – New Zealand Government

Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Foreign Minister Murray McCully today announced that this years Tropic twilight Exercise will be conducted in the northern Cook Islands atolls of Penrhyn and Manihiki. Read more »

Media freedom groups rally in support of gagged Malaysian press

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Protesters gather for a rally against the three-month suspension of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily. Image: Nazir Sufari/The Malaysian Insider

Malaysian government actions in suspending two newspapers and blocking a whistleblower website have chilled freedom of speech. Asia Pacific Journalism talks to local and regional media on the issue.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Kai Ping Lew

Global media freedom groups and protesters have been putting pressure on Malaysian authorities over a crackdown on The Edge Financial Daily and The Edge Weekly newspapers, which have recently been suspended for three months after reporting on how the government investment fund 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was used to funnel $US700 million into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s bank account.

Access to whistleblower website Sarawak Report, which also reported on the issue, was blocked in Malaysia. An arrest warrant was issued for the Report’s London-based editor Clare Rewcastle Brown.

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) has called the government’s actions serious transgressions of press freedom and the right to information. It said that reports about fraud and embezzlement were in the public interest and essential to the duty of the news media society. Read more »

Pacific broadcast media aim to get people ‘to care’ about key goals

Pacific Media Watch’s Alistar Kata reports on community news and the UN sustainable development goals. PMC video

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Alistar Kata

Beyond2015, a global campaign focused on working with civil society groups to develop their regions, is planned to end poverty, inequality and climate change in the Pacific.

But the challenge is how to engage Pacific communities with these messages in a way they can understand.

Last weekend Pacific media were invited to a workshop in Auckland to come up with ways to get the message through. Read more »

NZ aid to assist Timorese coffee and cocoa farmers

Press Release – New Zealand Government

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced that New Zealand will commit $14.5 million over five years to help develop Timor-Lestes coffee and cocoa industry. Read more »

NZ Defence Force Chaplains to Be Remembered

Press Release – New Zealand Defence Force

NZ Defence Force Chaplains to Be Remembered One hundred years since the first NZ Defence Force chaplain was killed on active duty will be marked in Wellington this week. Chaplain-Major William Grant was killed on 28 August 1915, during a firefight … Read more »

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