Mekim Nius: South Pacific Media, Politics and Education (2004)


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By David Robie

The news media is the watchdog of democracy. But in the South Pacific today the Fourth Estate role is under threat from governments seeking statutory regulation, diminished media credibility, dilemmas over ethics and uncertainty over professionalism and training.

Traditionally-with the exception of Papua New Guinea where university education has been the norm — the region’s journalists have mostly learned on the job in the newsroom or through vocational short courses funded by foreign donors.

However, today’s Pacific journalists now more than ever need an education to contend with the complex cultural, development, environmental historical, legal, political and sociological challenges faced in an era of globalisation.

From the establishment of the region’s first journalism school at the University of Papua New Guinea in 1975 with New Zealand aid, Mekim Nius traces three decades of South Pacific media education history.

Dr David Robie profiles journalism at UPNG, Divine Word University and the University of the South Pacific in Fiji with Australian, Commonwealth, French, NZ and UNESCO aid. He also examines the impact of the region’s politics on the media in the two major econo­mies, Fiji and Papua NewGuinea — from the Bougainville conflict and Sandline mercenary crisis to Fiji’s coups.

The book draws on interviews, research, two news industry surveys, and the author’s personal experience as a Pacific media educator for almost a decade. Mekim Nius argues journalists need to be provided with critical studies, ethical and contextual knowledge matching technical skills to be effective communica­tors and political mediators with the Pacific’s “new regionalism”. — From the Back Cover

David Robie
David Robie
Dr David Robie was previously founding director and professor of journalism at AUT’s Pacific Media Centre (PMC). He worked with postgraduate student journalists to edit Pacific Media Watch - a daily digital archive of dispatches about Pacific journalism and media, ethics and professionalism. The PMC also jointly published the high profile independent Pacific Scoop news website with industry partner, Scoop Media, and Asia Pacific Report, which David now edits independently in partnership with Evening Report: David is also the founding editor of Pacific Journalism Review (PJR).
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