The editor of the government-owned newspaper in Samoa runs a relentless and bitter “holier than thou” democracy campaign against the “gutless” media in Fiji that he regards as too soft on the military-backed regime.
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WHAT makes the book Don’t Spoil My Beautiful Face: Media, Mayhem and Human Rights in the Pacific really interesting is that it’s not just the reprinting of David Robie’s very good investigative pieces of reporting, but he weaves into it his autobiographical story and that gives context to his various pieces that he has gathered together.
A wide range of stories from the Kanak uprising of the 1980s, the Fiji coups, Moruroa - really the whole breadth of events in the Pacific over the last 30 or 40 years ... It gets rights inside the issues and shows the trust that was placed in David Robie by people who really wanted their stories told.
So it is well contextualised and I think it is a real contribution to Pacific journalism by collecting it all together.
The final part of the book is about his role as a journalism educator, and also his perceptions of the way that journalism in the Pacific has developed.
He has a very interesting model that he calls critical development journalism. It is the sort of journalism that holds power to account.
But behind it lies the need to focus on the condition of developing nations and on the ways of improving them.
And so it has a positive purpose to it even if in the process it is uncovering shortcomings, corruption - you name it.
And I think this is the sort of journalism that David Robie stands for and tries to educate others to provide. This is an excerpt from the Gavin Ellis media segment on Radio New Zealand National’s Nine to Noon show.
Where the purpose of it is a higher purpose than simply revealing what’s gone wrong. Dr Gavin Ellis is a media commentator and researcher.
He is a former editor-in-chief of The New Zealand Herald and was recipient of the British Commonwealth Astor Press Freedom Award in 2005.
He is the author of Trust Ownership and the Future of News: Media Moguls and White Knights to be published in London in June.