SPECIAL REPORT: Watchdogs under pressure: Pacific Islands journalists’ demographic profiles and professional views

Keywords: Cook Islands, demographics, ethics, Fiji, journalism studies, Marshall islands, Nauru, Pacific journalists, Papua New Guinea, political influence, Samoa, Solomon islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu


While global scholarship on journalists’ professional views has expanded tremendously over recent decades, the Pacific Islands remains somewhat of a blind spot, with only sporadic research. To address this gap in our knowledge, this study reports the results of a comprehensive survey of 206 Pacific Islands journalists in nine countries, providing a much-needed update of journalists’ demographic profiles, role conceptions, ethical views and perceived influences. Our analysis finds that while journalists are now older, more experienced and better educated than 30 years ago, they are still younger and less well-educated than their counterparts in many other parts of the globe. In the digital age, some old challenges persist in relation to their roles: While journalists are committed to holding power to account and aiding in the development of their countries, they continue to face political and economic challenges that make their tasks difficult and sometimes even perilous.

This study was funded by The University of the South Pacific, the United States Embassy in Fiji and the Pacific Media Centre, formerly based at the Auckland University of Technology.


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Author Biographies

Shailendra B. Singh, The University of the South Pacific

Associate Professor Shailendra Singh is the coordinator of journalism at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. He has written widely about Fiji and the Pacific, both as a journalist and as an academic. His research interests are in media freedom, democracy, and development, with a focus in the Pacific.

Folker Hanusch , University of Vienna

Folker Hanusch is Professor of Journalism at the Department of Communication, University of Vienna. Originally from Germany, Prof Hanusch spent the previous 17 years in Australia, where most recently he was Associate Professor and Vice-Chancellor's Research Fellow in Journalism at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). His research interests are in comparative journalism studies, journalism culture, lifestyle journalism, Indigenous journalism and journalism and memory.


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How to Cite
Singh, S. B., & Hanusch , F. (2021). SPECIAL REPORT: Watchdogs under pressure: Pacific Islands journalists’ demographic profiles and professional views. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 27(1 & 2), 132-149. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjr.v27i1and2.1164