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An excerpt from the cover of Mekim Nius – Tok Pisin for “newsmaking”.

David Robie

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Mekim NiusThe news media is the watchdog of democracy. But in the South Pacific today the Fourth Estate role is under threat from governments seeking statutory regulation, diminished media credibility, dilemmas over ethics and uncertainty over professionalism and training. Traditionally – with the exception of Papua New Guinea where university education has been the norm – the region’s journalists have mostly learned on the job in the newsroom or through vocational short courses funded by foreign donors. However, today’s Pacific journalists now more than ever need an education to contend  with the complex cultural, development, environmental, historical, legal, political and sociological challenges faced in an era of globalisation. From the establishment of the region’s first journalism school at the University of Papua New Guinea in 1975 with New Zealand aid, Mekim Nius traces three decades of South Pacific media education history. Dr David Robie profiles journalism at UPNG, Divine Word University and the University of the South Pacific in Fiji with Australian, Commonwealth, French, NZ and UNESCO aid. He also examines the impact of the region’s politics on the media in the two major economies, Fiji and Papua New Guinea – from  the Bougainville conflict and Sandline mercenary crisis to Fiji’s coups

David Robie is a New Zealand journalist and media educator who has worked in the Pacific for more than two decades. For nine years he headed the journalism programmes at both the University of Papua New Guinea and the University of the South Pacific, where he was programme coordinator. He won Qantas and NZ Media Peace Prize awards for Pacific journalism and was the 1989 Australian Press Council Fellow. He is currently professor of Pacific journalism and director of the Pacific Media Centre at Auckland University of Technology.

Report by Pacific Media Centre