Coverage of extreme weather events and natural hazards in Pacific Island Countries
The need for media capacity-building
There would be little disagreement over the media’s crucial role in reporting extreme weather events and natural hazards, which have become more commonplace in Pacific Island Countries (PICs). However, for various reasons explored in this article, the media have generally failed to satisfactorily cover the unfolding of natural hazards and disasters. Using Fiji as an example, this article discusses media coverage of various cyclones, and the gaps in the reporting. The article argues that more training and capacity building for media personnel should be undertaken to ensure that people are well informed and prepared as they face the brunt of more frequent and intense extreme weather events.
Cate, H. (Ed). (1994). The role of the media in disaster mitigation: Roundtable on the media, scientific information and disasters. International Disaster Communications: Harnessing the Power of Communications to Avert Disasters and Save Live. Retrieved on 20 March 2018 from www.annenberg.northwestern.edu/pubs/disas/disas32.htm.
COP23 Fiji. (2017). How Fiji is affected by climate change. limate ChangeRetrieved on 20 March 2018 from https://cop23.com.fj/fiji-and-the-pacific/how-fiji-is-affected-by-climate-change/
Costella, C. V. & Ivaschenko, O. (2015) Integrating disaster response and climate resilience in social protection in Pacific Island Countries, World Bank Discussion Paper 1507.
Devi, S. (2016a, March 13) Night of Devastation. The Fiji Times.
Devi, S. (2016b, February 25). Coastal assessment uncovers ‘ugly scences’. In dire need. The Fiji Times.
Diamond, K., Lorrey, M., Knapp, R., & Levinson, H. (2012). Development of an enhanced tropical cyclone tracks database for the Southwest Pacific from 1840 to 2010. International Journal of Climatology, 32(14), 2240-2250.
Duffield, L. (2018, March 6). Facing up to hardship in the Pacific. Independent Australia. Retrieved on 18 March 2018 from https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/facing-up-to-hardship-in-the-pacific,11264
femLINKpacific. (2015). Our mission, vision and values. Retrieved on 18 March 2018 from
Fiji: images of flattened villages show brutal force of Cyclone Winston. (2016, February 22). The Guardian. Retrieved on 14 March 2016 from www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/22/fiji-images-of-flattened-villages-show-brutal-force-of-cyclone-winston
Franks, S. (2006). How famine captured the headlines. Media History, 12(3), 291-312.
Hungry Hola victims in Vanuatu resort to stealing food. (2018, March 23). Radio New Zealand International. Retrieved on 24 March 2018 from
Heavy rain scares villagers. (2016, December 17). The Fiji Times. Retrieved on 10 March 2018 from www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=382357
IPCC. (2001). Impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Cambridge University Press.
IPCC. (2017). Meeting report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expert meeting on mitigation, sustainability and climate stabilisation Scenarios. College London, London, the United Kingdom.
Larmour, P. (2005, April 27). Corruption and accountability in the Pacific Islands. (Policy and Governance Discussion Paper 05-10). Canberra, Australia: Asia-Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University.
Ministry of Economy, Republic of Fiji. (2016, September). Disaster recovery framework: topical cyclone Winston. Strategic Planning Office, Ministry of Economy: Suva, Republic of the Fiji Islands.
Nasiki, R. (2017, August 11). Meteorological council builds media relation.
The Fiji Times. Retrieved on 15 March 2018 from http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=412228
Natural catastrophe review: Series of hurricanes makes 2017 year of highest insured losses ever. (2018, January 4). Retrieved on 12 March 2018 from www.munichre.com/en/media-relations/publications/press-releases/2018/2018-01-04-press-release/index.htmlm
Pamba, K. (2003, November 4). Prominent people make news. The National, p.15.
Papoutsaki, E. (2008) Reporting development in the South Pacific: a research perspective. In Singh, S., & Prasad, B. (Eds), (2008), Media and Development, Issues and Challenges in the Pacific Islands (pp 27-41) Suva, Fiji: Fiji Institute of Applied Studies, & Auckland, New Zealand: Pacific Media Centre, AUT University
Papua New Guinea earthquake: there is a disaster on our doorstep that's being ignored. (2018, March 22). ABC News. Retrieved on 23 March 2018 from: http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-22/png-earthquake-disaster-on-our-doorstep-ignored/9575626?pfm=sm
Perrottet, A. (2015). News values in three Pacific nations: a case study in development journalism and the reporting of the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji, Vanuatu and New Zealand. Unpublished Master of Communication Studies thesis. Auckland University of Technology.
PM accuses newspaper of irresponsible reporting. (2018, January 24). The Fiji Times Online. Retrieved on 21 March 2018 from www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=431883
Reza, J. (2007, November 28). Cyclone and role of media. The Daily Star. Retrieved on 11 March 2016 from www.thedailystar.net/news-detail-13321
Scientists need to brush up on communications, says Fiji weather man. (2016, April 2). Asia-Pacific Report. Retrieved on 14 March 2018 from: http://asiapacificreport.nz/2016/04/02/scientists-need-to-brush-up-on-communications-says-fiji-weather-man/
Survivors’ stories about Cyclone Meli. (2016, April 3). The Fiji Times Online. Retrieved on 14 March 2018 from: www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=348059
Traber, M. (1985). Alternative journalism, alternative media. Communication Resource (7).
WMO. (2014). WMO statement on the status of the global climate in 2013. Geneva 2, Switzerland: World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
Walsh, K., McInnes, K., & McBride, J. (2012). Climate change impacts on tropical cyclones and extreme sea levels in the South Pacific—A regional assessment. Global and Planetary Change, 80–81, 149-164.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors submitting articles for publication warrant that the work is not an infringement of any existing copyright and will indemnify the publisher against any breach of such warranty. By publishing in Pacific Journalism Review, the author(s) agree to the dissemination of their work through Pacific Journalism Review and on the PJR databases.
By publishing in Pacific Journalism Review, the authors grant the Journal a Creative Commons nonexclusive worldwide license for electronic dissemination of the article via the internet, and, a nonexclusive right to license others to reproduce, republish, transmit, and distribute the content of the journal. The authors grant the Journal the right to transfer content (without changing it), to any medium or format necessary for the purpose of preservation.
Authors agree that the Journal will not be liable for any damages, costs, or losses whatsoever arising in any circumstances from its services, including damages arising from the breakdown of technology and difficulties with access.