Frontline: The Rainbow Warrior, secrecy and state terrorism: A Pacific journalism case study

Keywords: bearing witness, conflict journalism, conflict reporting, environmental journalism, exegesis, France, investigative journalism, journalism as research, journalism history, journalism research, New Zealand, Rainbow Warrior, scholarship, state terrorism


France detonated 193 of a total of 210 nuclear tests in the South Pacific, at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls, before halting them in 1996 in the face of Pacific-wide protests. On 10 July 1985, French secret agents bombed the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour, killing photographer Fernando Pereira, in a futile bid to stop a protest flotilla going to Moruroa. The author was on board the Rainbow Warrior for more than 10 weeks of her last voyage. He was awarded the 1985 New Zealand Media Peace Prize for reportage and investigations into the ‘Rainbow Warrior and Rongelap Evacuation’. The following year, the author’s book Eyes of Fire told the inside story of state terrorism in the Pacific. He has subsequently reflected on a 20-year legal struggle by Television New Zealand and other media campaigners to prevent the French spies gagging reportage of their guilty plea from a public video record and the lingering secrecy about the health legacy of nuclear tests in the Pacific. In the context of the Frontlineproject for journalism as research, his work inspired a micrositea community-driven collaborative project in 2015 coordinated by the publishers, Little Island Press, interrogating participants over a three-decade period and ‘challenging the nature of mainstream media in New Zealand’ with an alternative reader’s media model.


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How to Cite
Robie, D. (2016). Frontline: The Rainbow Warrior, secrecy and state terrorism: A Pacific journalism case study. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 22(1), 187-213.

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