PMC to put spotlight on Asia-Pacific ‘journalism under duress’

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PCIJ’s executive director Malou Mangahas with Professor David Robie, director of the AUT Pacific Media Centre, in Manila … Philippine impunity for crimes against journalists is a major issue. Image: PCIJ

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

The Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology is highlighting the threats to media freedom in the Asia-Pacific region in an event next week marking its 10th anniversary.

Following the International Day of Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists earlier this month, the PMC is hosting two guest speakers in a panel addressing:

  • the so-called “war on drugs” in the Philippines and the extrajudicial killings estimated by officials at more than 7000 while human rights agencies claim a higher figure; and
  • human rights violations in West Papua.

The event features Malou Mangahas, executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, speaking on journalist safety and the culture of impunity.

The Philippines is the country with the largest single massacre of journalists – 32 on the island of Mindanao in 2009, where a three-month urban siege against jihadists in Marawi City has recently ended with a toll on many newsrooms.

The deadly crackdown on drugs reportedly eased up last month when President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the police to leave action to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), saying the shift was to target “big fish”.

Human rights advocates had accused Duterte of waging a “war on the poor”, but Mangahas argues that there has been no real change in strategy.

-Partners-

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said last week in Manila the deaths “require investigation”.

 Victor Mambor with Johnny Blades
Tabloid Jubi editor Victor Mambor with Johnny Blades. Image: RNZ Pacific
Tabloid Jubi editor Victor Mambor (at wheel) with Johnny Blades in West Papua. Image: RNZ Pacific

Johnny Blades, a senior journalist of RNZ International, will also speak about his challenging experiences in West Papua, especially during an “official” visit to the Indonesian-ruled Melanesian provinces in 2015.

Media freedom
The panel will be chaired by founding PMC director Professor David Robie, who has campaigned for many years on media freedom issues and was in Jakarta for the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day conference in May.

A former Pacific Affairs Minister, Laumanuvao Winnie Laban, who launched the PMC a decade ago this year, will also be attending.

Professor Berrin Yanıkkaya, head of the School of Communication Studies at AUT, will launch a graphic new media book, Conflict, Custom & Conscience: Photojournalism and the Pacific Media Centre 2007-2017, edited by Jim Marbrook, Del Abcede, Natalie Robertson and David Robie.

The new Pacific Media Centre photojournalism book.

She will also launch the latest edition of Pacific Journalism Review research journal.

A special video by Sasya Wreksono highlighting the PMC’s achievements over 10 years will be screened along with a photographic exhibition of the research centre’s evolution.

Seminar: “Journalism under duress in Asia-Pacific”
Thursday, November 30, 2017 5.30pm-8pm
WG126, School of Communication Studies, AUT
55 Wellesley St, Auckland
Refreshments will be provided
Admission free
RSVP by November 24 to:
communicate@aut.ac.nz

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