Restoring public trust, engaging in critical journalism, and opening the media’s eyes to common “blind spots” were all on the agenda for the inaugural professorial address of Dr David Robie at AUT University this month.
In his inaugural speech 'Coups, Crises and Human Rights' Pacific Media Centre director Professor Robie presented his insights into contemporary Asia-Pacific media issues to a crowded conference room representing many cultural communities.
Professor Robie, who is the first person in New Zealand and the Pacific to become a professor in journalism studies, has authored nine books on Asia-Pacific media, politics and human rights issues including Mekim Nius: South Pacific media, education and politics.
Beginning with the Hackgate affair in Britain and other media credibility issues, and touching on various "hot topics" throughout the presentation, Professor Robie charted the course of his life’s journey through New Zealand, Africa, Europe and back to Oceania.
He spoke of media issues confronting the Pacific region such as covering climate change, the legacy of military-backed censorship in Fiji and the current “greatest threat” of new so-called 'e-martial law' in the Philippines – a digital throwback to the days of dictator Marcos that effectively gags cyberspace with truth being no defence, he said.
“It would be disastrous if any Pacific country, such as Fiji, wanted to do a copycat law."
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