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PJM1 - Pacific media freedom 2011: A status report

Media freedom report cover. Cartoon: © Malcolm Evans / PJR

Alex Perrottet, David Robie, Pacific Journalism Review

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Perrottet, A., and Robie, D. (2011). Pacific media freedom 2011: A status report. Pacific Journalism Review, 17(2): 147-186. ISSN 1023-9499  Now republished as Pacific Journalism Monograph No 1;   ISSN 2253-4121; ISBN 978-1-927184-06-6


Pacific media freedom has been under siege for more than a decade, particularly since an attempted coup in Fiji in May 2000, when a television station was attacked and ransacked, a foreign journalist was shot and wounded and a local journalist ended up being imprisoned for treason. Since then various Pacific countries, notably Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu have faced various periods of media repression. Since the military coup in December 2006, Fiji has faced arguably its worst sustained pressure on the media since the original two Rabuka coups in 1987. The Bainimarama regime in June 2010 imposed a Media Industry Development Decree that enforced draconian curbs on journalists and restrictive controls on foreign ownership of the press. This consolidated systematic state censorship of news organisations that had been imposed in April 2009 with the Public Emergency Regulations that have been rolled over on a monthly basis ever since. Promised relaxation of state censorship after the imposition of the Decree never eventuated. This research report covers the period 1 July 2010-30 June 2011 and examines the trends in the Pacific region. In addition to Pacific Islands Forum member nations, it covers the French Pacific territories and the former Indonesian colony of East Timor and current twin provinces known collectively as West Papua.

A Pacific Media Watch report. Professor David Robie is convenor of the Pacific Media Watch media freedom project; Alex Perrottet is student contributing editor of the Pacific Media Watch project.

Keywords: censorship, Fiji coups, freedom of expression, freedom of information, journalist safety, media ethics, media freedom, media law

In the media:
Australia Network News - West Papua tops Pacific media violations

AUT University feature - West Papua 'biggest threat' to Pacific media freedom

Global Voices - West Papua: 'Biggest threat' to media freedom

Pacific Scoop - West Papua 'biggest threat' to Pacific media freedom

Radio Australia Pacific Beat - West Papua new Pacific media black spot

Radio NZ International - West Papua: Journalists beware

The Australian - Media freedom 'fragile' in Fiji and the Pacific

Malum Nalu's PNG newsblog - Indonesian repression in Papua slated in new Pacific media freedom report

Taimi Media Network - Assaults, repression, self-censorship plague Pacific media, says new PMW report

IFJ media freedom report 2012 - Fragile Freedom

About the authors

PMC profile photograph

Alex Perrottet

PMW contributing editor 2011-2012

Alex Perrottet is a journalist who has completed a Masters degree and Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies student at AUT University.

PMC profile photograph

David Robie

Professor, PMC Director

Professor David Robie is an author, journalist and media educator specialising in Asia-Pacific affairs.

PMC profile photograph

Pacific Journalism Review

Research journal

Pacific Journalism Review, published by AUT's Pacific Media Centre, is a peer-reviewed journal covering media issues and communication in the South Pacific, Asia-Pacific, Australia and New Zealand.

ISSN 1023-9499