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Home » , , , , » NZ: AUT student journalists to report on Pacific Islands Forum

NZ: AUT student journalists to report on Pacific Islands Forum

Written By Voice Of Baptist Papua on September 2, 2011 | 8:32 AM

AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch): A team of student journalists at AUT University is preparing for next week's Pacific Islands Forum in the City of Sails. Nine postgraduate students - either undertaking their masters or studying on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course - will be reporting on the issues and events at the 42nd meeting of Pacific Islands leaders.

Students' reports will be published on Pacific Scoop website, which is edited by the Pacific Media Centre. The PMC site will also feature news reports and comment from around the region.

The team includes local students as well as international students from Germany and China, as well as journalists from some of the countries that will feature heavily in discussions and events.

Climate change and Kiribati
Taberannang Korauaba, editor of the Kiribati Independent and a masters student at AUT, is determined to see how Kiribati features in regard to climate change.

"I'm keen to hear what [Kiribati President] Anote Tong has to say, and his approach to climate change," says Korauaba, whose masters thesis focuses on the Kiribati media and its reporting of climate change issues.

"It will be interesting to see how he deals with questions from the media here."

Korauaba is attending the Oxfam climate change debate this evening with Jim Salinger, Professor Caroline Saunders and business journalist Rod Oram.

Oxfam are organising several events throughout the week, including a discussion on climate change on Wednesday. The discussion will look at the effects as well as the responses to climate change and will conclude with a screening of The Hungry Tide, a film about rising sea levels in Kiribati.

Henry Yamo is another masters member of the team, with a Bachelors in Communication Arts majoring in Journalism from the Divine Word University in Madang, Papua New Guinea.

Yamo has had experience with Papua New Guinea's office of Transparency International and is on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course at AUT.

West Papua and Melanesian issues
He is focusing on the issue of West Papua and will track the progress of the Auckland-based Indonesia Human Rights Committee as it organises several events to bring PIF leaders to attention over the growing issue of injustice in West Papua.

Yamo is also interesting in how the Melanesian leaders deal with the issue of Fiji at the Forum.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group has just met in Fiji at the Engaging Fiji summit and will be aiming to bring a unified vision on the ongoing issue of Fiji's military regime, its promise for elections in 2014 and Fiji's ongoing suspension from the Forum.

"I'm also interested in the overall development aspects of the Pacific, particularly in the areas of climate change, education and human development in the region," says Yamo.

"And I'm very interested to know where the new five-week-old government of Papua New Guinea stands in relation to the above."

Former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare fired a missive from his recovery bed in Singapore claiming last month's Parliamentary election of Peter O'Neil as his replacement to be unconstitutional.

Just who actually arrives to represent Papua New Guinea next week is a matter of interest.

Yamo says he is looking forward to next week's opportunity.

"I feel very privileged and excited to be part of the team," he says. "It's helpful to participate and get a feel for diversified reporting, particularly in a foreign country.

"It is a whole new experience, particularly where the role of the media is well respected by all sectors of society."
'Tremendous learning curve'
Having the event in Auckland is a rare opportunity for so many volunteer students to be involved.
"It's rare that a NZ journalism school has the opportunity to put together a talented and good-sized team like this to cover a major regional Pacific event," says associate professor David Robie, director of AUT's Pacific Media Centre.
"It will be a tremendous learning curve for our postgraduate student journalists and follows on well from last year when we had two on our Pacific Scoop team in Port Vila for the Forum.
"And I am sure they'll make a good job of covering many of the complex issues facing the region.
"Also, having a few students among the team who are from Forum member countries in the Pacific - like Henry from Papua New Guinea and Taberannang, editor of the Kiribati Independent - is a bonus."
Both Korauaba and Yamo have been selected to take part in the two-day Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) pre-Forum workshop on Sunday and Monday.
Contributing editor of Pacific Media Watch Alex Perrottet is chief reporter for the team of student journalists.
The Forum special reports archive
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