By Craig Major
School of Communication Studies Professor and Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie marked World Press Freedom Day last week with a seminar covering the "targeting" and killing of Journalists, as well as the state of the media in West Papua.
During a seminar on Friday 3 May to coincide with World Press Freedom Day, David spoke to the shocking statistics around journalists killed in the couse of duty worldwide.
"“Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) [Reporters Without Borders] statistics showed 65 journalists were killed worldwide in 2017,” David said.. "Of the 65 journalists killed, 7 of these people were so-called citizen journalists."
"Although this statistic showed a drop from the previous year, the growth of “hatred” for media and targeting of journalists was a worsening problem."
Also on the seminar agenda was a discussion about the media "gags" affecting areas such as the Melanesian region of West Papua inside Indonesia.
“There are more and more independent journalists [in the region] that are disillusioned” David said. "These journalists are taking on the role of the 'citizen journalist' and publishing untold stories on their own blogs."
David highlighted the work of Papua New Guinea-based journalist and Pacific Media Centre collaborator Scott Waide, who curates and publishes articles by independent journalists and citizens on his blog My Land, My Country. as an example of this phenomenon.
The seminar was well-attended and the issues raised documented in a comprehensive post published on the Pacific Media Centre website.
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