REGION: Press freedom fragile in Pacific, says academic
Friday, May 4, 2012
AUCKLAND (Radio NZ International / Pacific Media Watch): The author of a report on Pacific Media Freedom says press freedom is very fragile in the region.
Professor David Robie, director of the New Zealand-based Pacific Media Centre, has launched a status report on media freedom in the Pacific.
He says while currently Fiji, Papua New Guinea and West Papua are facing the biggest challenges, it is fragile throughout the region.
“There’s a general mindset among Pacific politicians by and large - they don’t have a high regard for the press or the media generally. They reluctantly are happy enough to have the media on their side, particularly in the larger countries where the media is a lot more developed when they’re in opposition, and of course when they’re in power, they’re just as antagonistic with the media as any other politicians.”
Dr Robie says even following media censorship being lifted, Fiji is currently facing a period of rampant self-censorship.
He says because Fiji is so important, economically and politically to the rest of the region, there is a danger that the mindset can be exported to other countries.
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