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Cambodia offers more bad news in wake of Canberra’s asylum seeker gag

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A group called Doctors Against the Border Force Act hold a silent protest at Carlton Gardens, Sydney. Image: Luis Ascui/SMH

The Border Force Act is the most recent in a number of draconian Australian laws surrounding the treatment of refugees in the Republic of Nauru. Asia-Pacific Journalism reports on the asylum seekers crisis.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Matthew Hutching

After receiving four of Australia’s Nauru-based refugees in April, Cambodia has said it has no plans to resettle any more.

The announcement was made on Friday when Cambodia’s Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak told the Cambodia Daily: “We don’t have any plans to import more refugees from Nauru to Cambodia.”

It is the latest in a string of bad news for Australia’s refugee management strategy. 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 »

Asia-Pacific political media PJR book launched at AMIC 2015

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AMIC secretary-general Ramon R. Tuazon, chairman Dr Crispin C. Maslog, and PMC director Dr David Robie at the book launch in Dubai. Image: Tarleen Archuleta/AUD

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch in Dubai

A new book edition of Pacific Journalism Review featuring Asia-Pacific political journalism has been launched at AMIC 2015 along with three titles by prolific Filipino mass communication scholar Dr Crispin C. Maslog.

Editor Professor David Robie of PJR spoke at the launch of the special edition marking 20 years of publication of the regional research journal and praised the collaboration between the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) and Pacific Media Centre (PMC) at the Auckland University of Technology.

“Publication of this book represents a new stage in the Asia-Pacific partnership between these two centres and we hope more books of this nature will follow for the region,” he said. Read more »

Live streaming links for Asia-Pacific political journalism conference

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Pacific Scoop:
Report – By PMC news desk

Asylum seekers in the Pacific, media freedom issues, post-elections Fiji, climate change, the climate of impunity in the Philippines and investigative documentaries in Timor-Leste, Australia and New Zealand are among the wide-ranging topics featured at a three-day political journalism in the Asia-Pacific conference opening in Auckland tomorrow.

The conference is marking 20 years of publishing the research journal Pacific Journalism Review.

Walter Fraser, head of Pacific Advancement at AUT University, will open the conference on Thursday morning and Vice-Chancellor, Derek McCormack, will make a presentation of a mega cartoon to the editorial team on Friday, 5-6pm, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the journal. Read more »

SPECIAL REPORT: Australia’s asylum seekers problem – secrecy and inhumanity

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Every month, asylum seekers undertake the perilous journey across the Indian Ocean from Indonesia trying to reach the shores of Australia. Image: Mercatornet

Humanitarian organisations and leading experts are calling the conditions at Australia’s asylum seeker detention centres in the Pacific “worse than ever”. They are advocating for fundamental policy changes to stop the deaths and, what they call, inhumane circumstances, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism

Pacific Scoop:
Special Report – By Lasse Underbjerg and Marcus Bank

A rising number of suicide attempts. Riots and demonstrations. Adults and children sewing their lips together as a last resort, desperately trying to avoid being force fed so they can die from starvation.

These are just some of the latest stories of a “self-harm epidemic” coming from Australian asylum seeker camps in Nauru and on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

Humanitarian organisations and leading experts are calling the conditions “worse than ever” and are advocating for fundamental changes in Australia’s asylum seeker policy to stop the deaths and, what they call, inhumane circumstances. Read more »

SIDS wrap in Samoa: It really is a matter of life and death

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Facing the future … the SIDS conference in Apia, Samoa, this week. Image: SIDSlive.com

Pacific Scoop:
Comment – By Mata’afa Keni Lesa

The urgency with which a number of challenges the small island developing states are confronted with means only one thing. That is the third Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference, which has just ended in Samoa, cannot be treated as business as usual.

While it’s easy to get lost and become totally overwhelmed by the emotions and magnitude of the issues and the personalities who have been to Samoa to talk about them, the reality of life for small island states must never be forgotten.

It’s quite scary in fact. Our islands are slowly but surely sinking. Coastal erosion and sea level rise are becoming more menacing with each single day so that countless families have had to relocate or risk being swept out to sea. Read more »

New free press book a must read for Pacific ‘media spoilers’


David Robie talks to Te Waha Nui’s Monique McKenzie about the new book.

Pacific Scoop:
News review – By Patrick Craddock in Suva

Don’t Spoil My Beautiful Face: Media, Mayhem and Human Rights in the Pacific is being published today while Fiji is voicing the mantra of the “free press” at the same time as it continues to ban experienced Pacific reporters such as Barbara Dreaver and Michael Field from New Zealand and Sean Dorney of the ABC.

Ashwin Raj, chairman of the new Media Industry Development Authority (MIDA) is haranguing journalists at public media meetings using expressions such as “…the complicity of select Fijian journalists and media either wittingly or those that remain oblivious to the laws of Fiji…”

The same MIDA that is so upset with Sean Dorney’s mild comment that “there was a feeling in the room anyway that the situation in Fiji wasn’t as free and open for the media as it should be” is also asking for “an ethos of robust debate”. Read more »

Australian officials show PNG how to censor asylum seekers information

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An Immigration Department official tries to block Fairfax photographing Lt-General Angus Campbell as he visits the squalid Manus Island police station prison where six asylum seekers were locked up for 48 hours. Photo: Rory Callinan/The Age

Pacific Scoop:
Backgrounder – By Rory Callinan, of The Age, Melbourne

I have seen some censorship in my 20-plus years as a journalist reporting from Australia and various countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

But what I saw on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea has made me uneasy about press freedom in the Pacific and the Australian government’s approach to reporting on the detention centre.

Last week photographer Nick Moir and I were on the island to report on the aftermath of the riot at the detention centre, which left one asylum seeker dead and about 70 injured. Read more »

USP appoints new journalism coordinator amid controversy

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Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Shireen Lata in Suva

A former broadcast journalism lecturer and media centre broadcaster of the University of the South Pacific, New Zealander Patrick Craddock, is returning to Suva to take up the journalism coordinator’s post.

Craddock replaces Australian Dr Ian Weber who resigned suddenly last week.

Craddock has worked for nearly 20 years in different countries in Africa and the Pacific teaching radio journalism, writing scripts and producing radio drama for adult education. Read more »

Who’s in Pacific control now? Australian foreign policy in the asylum seeker age

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A 10-year-old child’s depiction of her “prison” in Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea. Image: solidarity.net

Pacific Scoop:
Analysis – By Dr Scott MacWilliam

When relations between economically and politically dominant and subordinate countries are described, metaphors are often employed. Australia has been described as a client state of the United States, filling the security role of deputy sheriff in this region for the world’s most powerful nation.

One of the difficulties with such metaphors is that they tend to suggest a static, permanent condition. When relations change, so too must the metaphor.

Such is the case now, when Australian foreign policy has become captive to the domestic and international policy positions adopted by countries which previously appeared subordinate to the South Pacific’s major power. Read more »

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