Friday, August 13, 2010

Development journalism 'vital for Pacific region'

Pacific Media Centre

Development journalism is critically important for media in the South Pacific, says the director of the Pacific Media Centre.

Associate professor David Robie told the week-long Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) programme in New Zealand that some western media had "lost the plot".

Too much focus was on conflict and crises and not enough on solutions.

He said good development journalism - not the misrepresented version criticised by western media - was investigative, process and solution-orientated.

"The goal of development journalism is to reach people and make a change in their lives," he said.

He said this was about "empowerment of the people".

Church publications - such as the new PCC website launched at the conference - NGO newsletters and independent publications were important for agenda-setting on the "real issues" facing Pacific communities.

"New media technologies on the net make it possible for every citizen to engage in journalism through tools like blogging, and development journalists continue to play a key role in social change," he said.

He spoke on the theme of "Carteret refugees, MDGs and migration: media and development dilemmas" at the Regional Migration and Challenges to the Churches conference in Mangere from August 6-14.

Conference objectives were to:

1. Foster ecumenical relations among church leaders and a sense of fellowship and ownership of the PCC Secretariat and the ecumenical movement among them and their churches.

2. Assure the Migrant Churches in Aotearoa/New Zealand the solidarity of the PCC member churches and NCCs in the challenges they face by understanding the context and recognizing the efforts that have made on what needs to be done.

3. Nurture ecumenical relations between Pacific migrant churches and the PCC member churches and NCCs so that no one is left of out of our common search for a fresh way of expressing who we are and our place in this world as Pacific people.

Two of Dr Robie's former journalism students at the University of the South Pacific are now employees of the PCC - Peter Emberson is migration issues officer and Joe Yaya is communications adviser.

Picture: PCC's Peter Emberson presents Dr Robie with a stole bearing the PCC emblem. Photo: Joe Yaya.

New PCC website

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