'I want to buy my own block of land': Representation of urban settlement communities in Papua New Guinea

Keywords: content analysis, journalism, market vendors, media representation, news media, Papua New Guinea, photovoice, storytelling, urban settlement

Abstract

Urban settlements are home to around half the urban population of Papua New Guinea. Since the end of the Second World War, PNG towns and cities have experienced significant growth of urban settlements. Urban dwellings were established on customary and untransformed state lands. With limited support for services from government, informal settlements in the urban landscape have often been perceived from the perspective of their deficiencies. However, residents of urban settlement communities play an important role in urban economies. The purpose of this article is to critically review perceptions of settlements and issues affecting settlement communities in PNG, both in the mainstream media and from within settlement communities. The authors first present a media content analysis of reporting on settlement communities on PNG’s main online media sites. Second, they examine urban market vendors’ personal experiences of the challenges and solutions of living in Kamkumung Settlement in Lae. Drawing on storytelling and photovoice workshops with market vendors at Awagasi market, they argue for the need for media actively to include the voices of settlement residents. The article suggests that, by better understanding the context and personal experience of residents, journalists and the media could make a stronger contribution to sustainable development and urban planning in PNG.

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Author Biographies

Wilma Molus, Queensland University of Technology

Wilma Molus is currently a PhD student with the Queensland University of Technology, Creative Industries Faculty, School of Design. She graduated with Bachelor in Education from the University of Goroka and Masters in Communication Studies from the Papua New Guinea University of Technology. Prior to taking up doctoral studies at QUT, she was teaching English for Academic Purposes and Development Communication at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology. Wilma’s professional academic experience comes from years of teaching at different educational levels in Papua New Guinea as well as being a development practitioner in PNG working across different social issues in Papua New Guinea.

Verena Thomas, Queensland University of Technology

Verena Thomas is Senior Research Fellow in the School of Design, Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology. She holds a PhD in Communication from the University of Technology Sydney. Her research interests include communication and social change, communication for development, health communication, arts-based research approaches, visual methodologies and participatory design.

Verena has developed innovative and creative approaches to localising research in cross-cultural contexts. She is the founding Director of the Centre for Social and Creative Media at the University of Goroka, Papua New Guinea, which she led from 2012-2016. Verena has led over 20 projects funded by donor agencies, government and non-government partners. She has extensive experience in research and media capacity building in the Pacific region.

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Jackie Kauli, Queensland University of Technology

Jackie Kauli has over 15 years of experience working in international development and communication for development, working across Papua New Guinea and Australia. Her work focuses on harnessing process drama techniques, creative practice and communication strategies to contribute to development practice. She is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology where she supervises HDR students.

Laurie Buys, University of Queensland

Professor Laurie Buys is Professor and Director of the Healthy Ageing Initiative, Professor in the Health and Behavioural Sciences Faculty, former National President of the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG), AAG Fellow and an AAG Distinguished Member. Laurie’s research directly explores the understanding of, and accountability for, the real effects felt by people resulting from changes in their physical, social and cultural life. She has established strong collaborative partnerships with various community, industry and government organisations to investigate the dynamics of liveable communities, centred around the idea that transdisciplinary approaches to addressing challenges lead to more sustainable outcomes.

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Published
30-09-2021
How to Cite
Molus, W., Thomas , V., Kauli, J., & Buys, L. (2021). ’I want to buy my own block of land’: Representation of urban settlement communities in Papua New Guinea. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 27(1 & 2), 232-250. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjr.v27i1and2.1196