Mekim Nius: South Pacific media, politics and education
The news media is the watchdog of democracy. But in the South Pacific today the Fourth Estate role is under threat from governments seeking statutory regulation, diminished media credibility, dilemmas over ethics and uncertainty over professionalism and training.
Traditionally-with the exception of Papua New Guinea where university education has been the nonn - the region's journalists have mostly learned on the job in the newsroom or through vocational short courses funded by foreign donors.
However, today's Pacific journalists now more than ever need an education to contend with the complex cultural, development, environmental historical, legal, political and sociological challenges faced in an era of globalisation.
From the establishment of the region's first journalism school at the University of Papua New Guinea in 1975 with New Zealand aid, Mekim Nius traces three decades of South Pacific media education history.
Dr David Robie profiles journalism at UPNG, Divine Word University and the University of the South Pacific in Fiji with Australian, Commonwealth, French, NZ and UNESCO aid. He also examines the impact of the region's politics onthe media in the two major economies, Fiji and Papua NewGuinea-fromthe Bougainville conflict and Sandline mercenary crisis to Fiji's coups.
The book draws on interviews, research, two news industry surveys, and the author's personal experience as a Pacific media educator for almost a decade. Mekim Nius argues journalists need to be provided with critical studies, ethical and contextual knowledge matching technical skills to be effective communicators and political mediators with the Pacific's 'new regionalism'.
[Back cover copy]
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