Monday, 13 May 2013

Alerts raise freedom awareness

PNG: shipping owner Hamish Sharp can be seen in this screengrab, 
hand blurred, lunging for the camera. 
PFF | Rarotonga | Cook Islands: 

Regional media networks are combining to expose an unprecedented level of scrutiny when it comes to journalism ethics and public accountability, says the Pacific Freedom Forum.

“From Northern Mariana right across to French Polynesia, we are seeing an upswing in the number of freedom alerts for our region,” says PFF Chair Titi Gabi.

“These are of course a concern but can also be considered positive in that more time and attention is being paid to raising standards.”

Recent weeks and days have seen a wide range of issues raised.

PFF has put out news releases on leading concerns, but other issues are piling up across a range of platforms, including Facebook.

“We encourage moves to greater professionalism and formalisation of media standards, and the debate that goes with industry and community concerns,” says Gabi.


French Polynesia: a newly formed political party being denied access to televised debates ahead of general elections there.

> PFF - calls on authorities in Pape’ete to ensure equal access to all political parties, as per French constitutional and other law.

Northern Marianas: a threat from authorities to force disclosure of confidential sources by a newspaper journalist exposing misadministration.

> PFF - urges authorities in CNMI to place precedence on First Amendment rights under US law to freedoms of speech, including the professional right of journalists to maintain confidentiality. 

Papua New Guinea: a shipping owner assaulting a TV crew who were invited to accompany an official immigration investigation of his office.

> PFF - urges management of EMTV to not allow a culture of impunity to continue when it comes to assaults on media workers, and calls for an official complaint to be laid.

Papua New Guinea: Publication by daily newspaper, The National, of a photograph showing graphic injuries of violence victims.

> PFF - decries shock tactics by media, operating outside of generally accepted practice, especially in newspapers where content can be viewed by all ages.

Papua New Guinea: Airing of a radio Nau FM talkback show on sex and the recording of images.

> PFF – notes that there is considerable public alarm at the talkback show, and earlier ones like it, in terms of community standards. PFF calls on radio management to ensure that the fine lines between information, entertainment and exploitation of community standards are not crossed.

Samoa: the new commissioner of police abandoning a weekly press conference popular with the public and with a proven track record of improving police conduct. The cancellation came after a letter from the prime minister.

> PFF – regrets news of the cancellation, and the apparent lack of due process in seeing the press conference dropped. Police should be seen to make their own decisions, and not open to influence from governments of the day when it comes to a free flow of information.

Cook Islands: arson threats made against daily Cook Islands News after newspaper publishes crime report.

> PFF – understands an earlier arson attempt was made against the paper, fortunately unsuccessful. Even on social networks, making threats is a serious matter.

Region: low pay causing journalists to abandon news in favour of public relations positions, and accepting of bribes, compensation and so-called custom payments.

> PFF – notes worldwide concerns over falling journalism pay and staff numbers, exposing a growing need for more policy debate surrounding the role and resources of the Fourth Estate.


French Polynesia: Equity does not equal equality
(in French)

Papua New Guinea: EMTV reporters assaulted

CNMI: Subpoenaed Marianas journalist prepared for jail sentence

Papua New Guinea: Why does The National print gruesome horrific photographs?

Samoa: No more press conferences – Police Commissioner confirms

Papua New Guinea: Nau FM “juicy talk” and reaction

Cook Islands: Bar owner issues veiled threats

Region: Pacific journalists need better pay, says free media advocate


PFF Chair Titi Gabi | Freelance Journalist | Papua New Guinea  | +67573143929 |

PFF co-Chair Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa | + 6842584197 |

PFF coordinator Jason Brown | Pasifika media | Aotearoa, New Zealand | +642102484560 | 


 The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media. We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance. In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.

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