By Sri Krishnamurthi for Asia Pacific Report
A Filipina journalist who cut her teeth as a young reporter in the Marcos dictatorship years and now heads an investigative digital media outlet and a New Zealand journalist who was on board the bombed Rainbow Warrior environmental campaign ship are keynote speakers at an Asia-Pacific conference opening in Auckland today.
The Asian Congress for Media and Communication (ACMC) is hosting the three-day 2021 virtual conference in partnership with Auckland University of Technology with the theme “Change, Adaptation and Culture: Media and Communication in Pandemic Times”.
Glenda Gloria, an award-winning investigative journalist and author of Under The Crescent Moon: Rebellion in Mindanao, is co-founder and executive editor of Rappler, which is at the forefront of media freedom struggles in the Philippines.
Her colleague, Maria Ressa, recently jointly won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, for championing a free press and she has been the target of multiple lawsuits in an attempt by the Duterte administration to silence the media.
Gloria will talk about current challenges facing the media in the Philippines and across the Asia Pacific region.
Dr Robie sailed on board the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior that was bombed by French secret agents in Auckland in 1985 and he has reported on environmental issues, climate issues and independence struggles.
Senior communications lecturer at AUT Khairiah A Rahman, principal organiser of the event, said there was much to be achieved from the conference.
“We will be looking at international sharing, networking, future collaborative projects, and research publications in journals and books,” Rahman said.
The ACMC received more than 60 paper submissions and approved 44 peer-reviewed abstracts for the biannual conference which was established in the Philippines and began in 2008.
Six international ACMC conferences have been hosted by universities in Penang, Malaysia; Bangkok, Thailand; Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Hong Kong; Philippines; Taiwan; and now at AUT in Auckland.
“We had several pre-conference talks which yielded as many as 94 participants. In real — not virtual — ACMC conferences, we welcome 130 to 160 attendees from 22 countries,” Rahman said.
The opening addresses will be made by Professor Felix Tan, associate dean research and acting dean of AUT’s Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies, and professor Azman Azwan Azmawa of Malaysia, president of the ACMC.
Among papers to be presented are topics such Media, Gender, and Intersectionality in the Pandemic Times; Lockdown Love: Computer-mediated Romantic Intimacies among Select Gay Filipino Couples; The Articulation of Papuan Women Ethnic Identity on Facebook; AUT’s Cindy Wang on Anyone can be a Vlogger: Sri Lankan Moviegoers in Covid-19 Pandemic Era.
AUT’s Rahman and associate professor Petra Theuissen will jointly present a paper titled Concept Maps as Foundations for Critical Thinking in Public Relations Study.
Other papers to be presented include The Weibo Discussion about Taiwanese Legislation of Same-Sex Marriage presented by Massey University’s Fei Xiao.
Also, Rahman will present a timely paper after the New Zealand’s 2019 mosque massacre titled Shifting Dynamics in Popular Culture on Islamophobia Media Narratives.
Among the conference moderators is Jim Marbrook, a filmmaker and an AUT senior lecturer in screen production who in 2020 was co-producer of the documentary Loimata, The Sweetest Tears that won the 2021 FIFO grand jury prize in Tahiti. He will moderate a “media in quarantine” session.
Other moderators include associate professor Camille Nakhid, chair of the Pacific Media Centre which has been in hiatus for a year, Dr Theuissen and Deepti Bhargava, who will moderate a “crisis in communication challenges” session.
The conference begins this afternoon and ends on Saturday.