Category Archives: Media

APJC 2015

  • Fellows and Fasilitators of APJC Training (Photo courtesy of APJC)

    Fellows and Fasilitators of APJC Training (Photo courtesy of APJC)

    I am here in Melbourne with 16 other colleagues from Indonesia, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Timor Leste and my own country Solomon Islands for the Asia Pacific Journalism training 2015. It has been quite an experience learning new information, meeting new people and adapting slowly to the cold weather. For the past two weeks we’ve been getting to know from our very expert presenters about leadership, reporting on the economy, and now mobile journalism! We’ve been learning from each other as well. It’s been exciting! We are heading to Canberra this Sunday so there’s more to come! I am certainly looking forward to it. Bring it on APJC!! Tagio tumas! 👍👍👍


The culture of culture

fvb 03

IF you think about your culture – REALLY think about it.

Remove your emotions, those rose tinted glasses, all the romanticism you feel toward it and just look at it from a detached point of view- would you be able to identify issues with it?

And would you have the courage to speak out about it- not just to your friends and peers- but to your society as a whole.

I ask this question because in my travels through Australia- I’ve been confronted with this question and I’d be lying of if I didn’t admit that much of my free time is consumed turning the idea over in my head- like a baker kneading dough trying to find just the right consistency.

I’ll explain a little bit about myself though, I’m a 24-year-old Fijian male, 6 foot, blonde hair blue eyes- ok so i’m lying on that bit- I’m actually 23 lol.

My culture is something I am immensely proud of- even though I may not be as familiar with it as I should be.

Just the fact that I know I have an identity, a place, just the knowledge that my grandfather  and his grandfather before him all practiced and passed down the traditions that I am blessed with today.

And the cultural effects from mining is what I’m currently soaking up.

As part of this Mining, Media and Development Fellowship with the APJC- we are required to look at all the effects of mining- environmental, business, political and cultural.

And after a few sessions hearing from different speakers on the cultural effects of mining I started to think- Is my culture robbing women and young men of their voices when it comes to deciding whether or not to allow mining on indigenous land.

For those of you who don’t understand, let me explain.The Fijian culture is patriarchal.

The men make the decisions, their voices carry weight in village discussions. They sit at the top of the table and they drink the first bowl of Kava in formal ceremonies.

Women and young men- to put it politely- do not carry as much weight with their opinions.Unless of course they are chiefs in their own right.

That’s the way it’s been since the time of my grandfather and his grandfather before him.

Now when the newest mine in Fiji began to seek landowners approval for use of their land- the decision making process went straight to the Mataqali- or land owning units which of course are headed by men.

And two days before I came to Australia I listened to a panel that was convened to talk about mining in Fiji, one of the speakers presented a few statistics on the new mine.

The statistics showed how young men and women were marginalised when it came to the decision making process for giving mining companies permission to mine on THEIR land.

A survey conducted on a portion of the community showed that a staggering 76 per cent felt they were not included in the process- even though the mining operations would affect all in the area.

A further 15 per cent of 500 villagers surveyed had no idea what an EIA was.

Add to this the fact  that Indians -who had also settled nearby and would feel the effects just as equally-were not consulted- simply because they were not part of the landowning group.

Now back then it didn’t seem that wrong to me- I remember thinking ‘Well tough luck guys but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

But now I wonder- can the mining consultation process with a community actually be participatory when the culture present in the community is the exact opposite.

And this thought occurred to me during an APJC organised excursion to the Melbourne Writers Festival to catch a session on Tradition and Development.

They were talking about including the views of a community when deciding about aid for development- yes I know it’s not mining but the same principle applies.

Basically can we justify a development decision that includes the views of an indigenous community when the culture present is not a consultative one to begin with?

Am i making sense here?

With regards to our culture- have we gotten so used to doing things one way that we are actually passing off the injustices that arise because of it- as acceptable?

And to go even further do we know the finer details of why our culture is as it is? Or are we practising our culture for culture’s sake?

I’ll be honest I don’t know the answer to ALL the questions I’ve raised here – my feeling is that if we concede on on aspect of our culture then we place ourselves on a slippery slope.

And also these damn rose tinted glasses refuse to come off.

But then are we risking destroying ourselves as a society- from the inside out by not conceding on the negatives?

For my grandfather and his grandfather before him- I hope we find our answers very soon.

What’s media’s role in mining?

Oxfam Australia Mining Advocacy Leader Serena Lillywhite giving a presentation on the organization's Mining Program to APJC participants in Melbourne, Aus.

Oxfam Australia Mining Advocacy Leader Serena Lillywhite giving a presentation on the organization’s Mining Program to APJC participants in Melbourne, Aus.

Apart from PUBLIC RELATIONS for mining companies and GOVERNMANT AGENCIES that are tasked to regulate mining operations, how can the MAIN STREAM MEDIA have an impact on mining and development in general?

The ASIA PACIFC JOURNALISM CENTRE through it’s MINING, MEDIA and DEVELOPMENT-Regional Knowledge Sharing Training program, currenty underway for journalists in the Asia-Pacific region, aims to highlight some pending issues that many developing countries often encounter with mining investments.

One major highlight is the role that JOURNALISTS in main stream media can play in ensuring that mining companies are conducting their operations with MINIMAL NEGATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS and MANAGEMENT measures, FAIR sharing of BENEFITS derived from the mine project, and TRANSPARENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY by the companies on the host communties, who ARE often ILLITERATE and RURAL-BASED.

As a radio and television broadcast journalist in Papua New Guinea, a developing nation that is commemorating it’s 38 years of self independence on the 16th of September this year, the APJC program will greatly complement my work in the province of East New Britain.

With a mine currently operating under New Guinea Gold Limited, 2 explorations underway by Ok Tedi Mining Limited, and negotiations for a world first seabed mining by Nautilus Minerals Ltd on the radar, there is a great need for me as an informer, to make sure I am able to get the necessary information I need to do my work and in turn educate the mass audience in a province where radio is the main medium for disseminating news and information.

So unlike PRs and state agencies, main stream media should not have attachments to any of those parties already represented, but be a watch dog and do a check and balance through news reports, which at the end of the day, can have a positive impact on development from mining.

“We need each other”

“This is the third time we are asked this…why is it so important that we have to be pestered about this, this so many times?….bloody hell!”

Good gracious, I could not believe I was for a moment, losing my cool, after four weeks of such a wonderful experience of learning and sharing.

“Control yourself”, I found myself saying to myself, “you are the most senior in the group and the other members of the group could be looking to you for leadership, direction, and even inspiration.”

The above was the most regrettable reaction at the lobby of the Ibis hotel in Sydney I would rather forget.

It was a reaction to the third or so time of being asked to read the ABC’s Work Ethics and Code of Conduct documents.

Walter Nalangu, Standing (l), me (standing 2nd from r) and Dorah (sitting l) with three of the 8 staff members of the Tok Pisin service of Radio Australia at their office.

One of the two kind and thoroughly helpful ladies who accompanied us on visits to Canberra and Sydney reminded those of us in the radio group who were down to do professional attachments with the ABC offices in Southbank, Melbourne to remember to read the two documents before the following week’s attachment with the ABC.

She was only doing her job of helping our “learning and sharing experiences” of course! Continue reading

Why Blog?

What is the most effective way to share information with people now? Is it the publication of newspaper. Ehm.., well it does not matter which form of medium we use. But in convergence media from paper to digital media, newspaper is limited to share information to world. Right now the era for digital media like creating a site or blog spot and word press will come in very handy.

Mobile journalism is not really new in the world. But for me, this is a new skill where I can upload stories and photos in the blog. I got to practice this skill when attending a program on reporting economic and business life on community in Asia Pacific Journalism Center (APJC). Rene Barnes who is the lecture for media journalism at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University teaches us in last week.

The essence for this skill is journalist have write and publication stories in the internet. This means is journalist have easy to publish any kind of issues such economic, politics, and socials. This mean is everybody can read information form website in laptop or mobile phone.

Publication stories in the internet is challenging because we are perhaps helping people to understand issues in the world. On the other side, the public are strengthened from criticism government.

How can this skill be useful for me and my colleagues? This will help my job as a journalist to publish information in the internet. I am happy if I can share the skill to my colleagues back in my office. But as a person given this chance with APJC, I was thinking it might be useful for them as well. I personally believe that a country with a good media will develop properly.

Where I went and who I met on my second day in Geelong

Ford Factory in Geelong. This was the place where I went at 10.00 am. Tony Abott, the opposition party leader came to the Ford factory. This was part his political agenda to gain sympathy from the Australian public.

Setyo Budi, Alfonsa and I companied Cameron Best, senior reporter of BendigoAdvertiser, to the media conference. Alison, acting chief of staff assigned us yesterday. This assignment was important to me, as we could observe how journalist covered issues in a media conference in Geelong.

Abott, who walks like a cowboy criticized the government on its carbon tax policy. This was continuing of his response about the national budget 2011. According him, carbon tax will clean Australians’ money and will not not clean the atmosphere.

He also came to Geelong Advertiser office to have one on one interview with Cameron Best. We were in the same room to observer the interview process. As overseas journalists it was very interesting.

What is it like to be attached to the oldest newspaper in Victoria?

Did you know that Geelong Advertiser is the oldest newspaper in Victoria? It was established in 1840. The first edition was printed on 21 November 1840. The founder of Geelong Advertiser is John Pascoe

Alfonsa and I (both are Indonesian journalists) had a chance to visit newspaper as part our fellowship’s assignment from 16 to 18 May 2011. We were accompanied by Setyo Budi who worked as our translator. On the first day, we met Greg Dundas, Chief of Staff for the newspaper. He told a brief history about the newspaper.

This newspaper is owned News Limited, a media company that also owns national and local newspapers as The Australian, Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph and The Courier Mail and Sky cable television in Australia. Geelong Advertiser also publishes free weekly bulletins: Geelong News and Echo. Every day it Geelong Advertiser prints 35.000-45.000 copies.

During the attachment we sat in conference meetings that were held at 2.30pm every day. The meetings were held to discuss the lay out and articles that would be included in the following day edition. The meetings were effective; it took about one hour. In these meetings, editors brought a mock up newspaper lay out, that was used to plan the layout of the following day’s edition.