Pacific media freedom since the pandemic

Keywords: COVID-19, Fiji, media freedom, Pacific journalism, Palau, pandemic, Papua New Guinea, political influence, Solomon Islands, Tonga


Commentary: This article discusses the status of media freedom in the Pacific region and the impact of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. It primarily draws on informed comments made by experienced Pacific journalists of an online discussion in December 2021. Further, it updates the situation in several Pacific countries, based on reflections made by the same journalists in March 2023. There have been two major developments in 2023: the newly elected government in Fiji has repealed the country’s controversial media law while the government of Papua New Guinea considers introducing a media law. The article highlights the importance of ongoing vigilance with regard to media freedom in Pacific Island countries.

It also considers the impact of media freedom in Pacific Island countries during the unprecedented health crisis.


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Author Biographies

Amanda H A Watson, Australian National University

Dr. Amanda H A Watson is a research fellow with the Department of Pacific Affairs at Australian National University. Her research focuses on mobile telephone uptake and use in the Pacific region. Research interests include telecommunication regulation, communicative practices, communication-for-development, and media strategies.

Shailendra Singh, The University of the South Pacific

Associate professor in Pacific journalism and head of journalism, University of the South Pacific


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How to Cite
Watson, A. H. A., & Singh, S. (2023). Pacific media freedom since the pandemic. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 29(1 & 2), 54-64.