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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 »

Secret histories of the Pacific: Media coverage of the region

Les évènements in New Caledonia in 1984
Flashback to les évènements in New Caledonia in 1984 when Kanak militants staged an insurrection against French rule. Image: David Robie


Pacific Scoop:
Review – By Alison McCulloch

Well of course we’d rather read about the pregnancy of Monaco’s Princess Charlene than about media crackdowns in Timor-Leste or the run-up to Fiji’s first post-coup elections. What were you thinking?Journalists who cover the South Pacific are long used to being ignored in New Zealand’s mainstream news media. If our location was mapped according to the international focus of our Fourth Estate, New Zealand would probably lie somewhere in the Atlantic.

Coverage of Pacific nations by the New Zealand media tends to hover around 5 percent or less, depending on the research and the medium being looked at, with Radio New Zealand a notable exception. Read more »

Tahiti’s Les Nouvelles bows out at 57 but new owners deny censorship

Les Nouvelles de Tahiti

“Goodbye” message in the final print edition of Les Nouvelles de Tahiti.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Jason Brown in Apia

One of the Pacific’s oldest newspapers is no more. Les Nouvelles de Tahiti, the older of two daily newspapers in French Polynesia, published its last edition on Friday.

The front page consisted of the banner, a completely black background, and its starting and finishing publication dates.

Those dates were from 26 April 1957 to 23 May 2014, publishing a total of 16,602 editions, according to a report from Polynesia 1st, a public radio station. Read more »

Women campaigners call for end to military bases in Asia-Pacific region

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Delegates from the Asia-Pacific region at the WILPF 2014 “Militarisation in the Pacific” conference in Auckland at the weekend. Image: Ruth Coombes/WILPF

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch

Women peace campaigners from Aotearoa, Australia, Hawai’i, Japan, Philippines and Polynesia/Te Ao Maohi have called for the removal of military occupation and bases in the Asia-Pacific region.

Meeting at AUT University in New Zealand, the three-day conference organised by the Aotearoa section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom also called for the removal of military training and promotions that “normalise violence” in schools.

The women campaigners urged that military spending be reallocated to eliminate all forms of violence – domestic, social and military. Read more »

Women campaigners take on Pacific militarisation and human rights

Filmmaker Anne Keala Kelly

Hawai’ian filmmaker Anne Keala Kelly (second from right) with campaigners against militarisation in the Pacific at the WILPF conference in Auckland last night. Image: Del Abcede/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – by the Pacific Media Centre news desk

Women campaigners from across the Pacific gathered on ANZAC Day in New Zealand for a three-day hui about militarisation of the region and called for indigenous people’s rights before “corporate rights” in development.

Organised by the Aotearoa Section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), New Zealand’s oldest peace movement, activists have come from Australia, Fiji, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines and Tahiti to the conference hosted at AUT University in Auckland by the Pacific Media Centre.

Last night the powerful documentary Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai’i by Anne Keala Kelly about the “recolonisation” of the islands by American economic and business interests and the desecration of sacred lands was screened. 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 »

WILPF conference to throw spotlight on militarisation in Pacific


The Noho Hewa documentary trailer.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch

A major conference to be held in Auckland over ANZAC weekend will throw the spotlight on militarisation around the Pacific.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is holding its Asia-Pacific conference at the Auckland University of Technology. The conference is being co-sponsored by Peace Movement Aotearoa and AUT’s Pacific Media Centre.

“Most New Zealanders are familiar with the consequences of militarisation and violence in Fiji, or with French military nuclear testing, but perhaps they are less aware of the many other forms that militarisation is taking throughout our region right now,” says WILPF Aotearoa president Céline Kearney. 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 »

New Pacific islands development bloc takes on Australian dominance

Xanana Gusmao and Voreqe Bainimarama

East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao with his Fiji counterpart President Voreqe Bainimarama in Nadi: “Having the East Timorese leader there was an important bridge for Asia-Pacific relations.” Image: Graham Davis

Pacific Scoop:
Analysis – By Kalinga Seneviratne in Singapore

A new Pacific islands forum will seek to challenge the dominance of Australia and New Zealand in a regional body. The new grouping’s approach is being billed the “Pacific Way”, and also the “green and blue” way for its commitment to environmentally sustainable oceans as well as land.

The new Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) challenges the Pacific Island Forum (PIF), a 16-member inter-governmental organisation which includes 14 Pacific Island countries plus Australia and New Zealand.

The PIF is headquartered in Fijian capital Suva. Fiji itself was suspended from the PIF in 2009 after naval commander Voreqe Bainimarama grabbed power in a coup in 2006 and refused to hold elections. Read more »

PMC director condemns ‘paranoid’ French politicians in Rainbow Warrior flashback

Masked Kanak pro-independence militant near Thio during les Événements in New Caledonia during the mid-1980s.

Masked Kanak pro-independence militant near Thio during Les Evenements in New Caledonia during the mid-1980s. Image: David Robie

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie has  condemned “paranoid” French politicians and security officials over the 1985 Rainbow Warrior state terror attack in a recent interview on the Newstalk ZB programme Total Recall.

July 10 marked the 28th anniversary of the French attack, which Professor Robie detailed in his 1986 book Eyes of Fire and also Blood on their Banner on Pacific independence struggles in 1989, Pacific Media Watch reports.

“The whole attack was outrageous in the first instance. It’s just inconceivable that an attack like that could have been launched against a major nation in the world, a peaceful nation,” Dr Robie said. Read more »

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