Last week, the incredible Pacific Journalism Review celebrated 20 years of promoting and supporting and standing up for Journalism in the South-Pacific. The conference at AUT featured journalists from around the pacific who have battled and fought and been punished for journalism.
It was a sobering and at times, painful lesson in how journalists are at the frontline of human rights and democracy movements within the Pacific and how often they pay the ultimate price for being an active fourth estate.
It made our own domestic media look like the pale, tepid joke they are.
Based at AUT, the Pacific Journalism Review has become one of the best journals promoting investigative journalism in our region and their team of hard working and dedicated staff have done more in 2 decades than I suspect the entire NZ media have achieved since 1840.
What was most apparent to me at the conference was how under utilised the Pacific Journalism Review is. If NZ wants to remain an independent influence in the South Pacific, we should be promoting the values that are stronger than US military muscle or Chinese cheque book diplomacy.
I’ve always thought that Rugby diplomacy would be our strongest cultural tie with the South Pacific. The All Blacks should tour the Islands every year, that sporting connection runs deeper than any Chinese or American cultural influence. But we should also consider Journalism and the ethics at its core as another export.
Ethical Journalism could be more powerful as a value and influence in the South Pacific than any Chinese or American cultural imperialism and NZ should actively seek to cultivate it and spread it as far and as deep as we can.
NZ authorities should be knocking on the Pacific Journalism Review’s door to ensure the next 2 decades are as successful as the previous 2. If NZ wants to remain a influence in our own back yard, Rugby and Journalism could be a way to do that.