By Craig Major of AUT Communications
Professor David Robie, Director of the Pacific Media Centre in the School of Communication Studies, has been part of the contingent of more than 100 journalists and media academics reporting on and analysing the historic New Caledonian independence referendum in early November. Only 2 out of the 100 were from New Zealand.
David was interviewed by Tokyo TV and other media and had several of his archival photos used in media such as SBS World News because of his specialist knowledge of the 1980s insurrection known locally as "les evenements" that led to the referendum 30 years later.
New Caledonians voted 56% against independence from France while the strong yes vote of 44% (the indigenous Kanaks are in a minority) has opened the door for delicate negotiations and two further referendums in 2020 and 2022.
Professor Robie authored a book in 1989, Blood On Their Banner: Nationalist Struggles in the South Pacific, published by Zed Books in London, which is widely cited today about the period, and a sequel in 2014 Don’t Spoil My beautiful face: Media, Mayhem & Human Rights in the Pacific.
He has also written several articles on the referendum and the events leading up to on Asia Pacific Report.
The Pacific Media Centre has had a busy month with coverage of the Fiji general election on November 14 in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific Journalism programme and also coverage of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in collaboration with EMTV News.
Postgraduate student Sri Krishnamurthi flew to Fiji to report on the election in partnership with USP’s Wansolwara student newspaper as a continuation of his International Journalism Project.