Tragic death of Jenelyn Kennedy and media ethics aired on Southern Cross

Southern Cross
PMC's weekly Southern Cross radio programme on 95bFM ... with Sri Krishnamurthi, James Tapp, Oscar Perress (not in photo) and the Pacific Media Watch team. Image: David Robie/PMC

Pacific Media Watch

Host Sherry Zhang interviewed the director of the Pacific Media Centre, Professor David Robie, about the tragic life and death of Jenelyn Kennedy from gender violence in Papua New Guinea today on the Southern Cross segment of Radio 95bFM.

Professor Robie discussed the rather horrific image of her lifeless body on the front page of The National newspaper and the ethical dilemma about publishing this photo to bring into focus gender-based violence.

The image was defended by senior journalist Rebecca Kuku who was criticised in social media for taking the stance.

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However, while Professor Robie supported publication of the photo and also published it on the PMC’s Asia Pacific Report, he said the newspaper should have also had a front-page editorial explaining why they ran the picture.

“Jenelyn’s story needed to be told – as a reporter, a woman, a mother, a sister, I failed to be her voice when she was alive and I’d be damned if I would fail her now in her death,” wrote Rebecca Kuku.

“Her voice needs to be heard and that picture was used to ensure her voice was loud and clear and to also awaken the authorities who seem to be sleeping, to open their eyes to the realities of gender-based violence (GBV).”

Jenelyn who eloped with Bosip Kaiwi when she was just 15, bore him two children and was killed at 19.

Then contributing editor of Pacific Media Watch Sri Krishnamurthi discussed the Cook Islands where members of Parliament (MPs) want to go to extraordinary lengths to ban a senior Cook Islands News journalist.

Rashneel Kumar who reported on MPs seeking travel perks was this week awaiting the decision of the Speaker of the House, Niki Rattle, while media groups have protested over the parliamentary move.

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