Protect 'Pacific voice’ on geopolitics, climate crisis – push for decolonization, Robbie tells VanSolvara

By Monica Singh in Suva

New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) Award-winning Professor David Roby has called on young journalists to see journalism as a calling, not just a job.

Dr. Robi is also a teacher Asia Pacific Report and Vice President Asia Pacific Media NetworkNamed in List of King’s Birthday Awards „Services to Journalism and Media Education in Asia Pacific”.

He was named last Monday and will be sworn in later this year.


said Associate Professor Sailendra Singh, Head of Journalism, University of the South Pacific. Vansolvara news: “David’s groundbreaking work in media research and development and his commitment to media freedom speak for themselves.

„I am one of the many Pacific journalists and researchers whom he has mentored and encouraged over the decades”.

Dr Singh said the recognition was well deserved.

Dr Roby was Head of Journalism at USP from 1998 to 2002, before resigning to join the Auckland University of Technology, becoming Associate Professor in the School of Communication Studies in 2005 and Full Professor in 2011.

Close links with USP
He has maintained close ties to USP journalism since resigning from the University of the Pacific. He was the Chief Guest at the 18th USP Journalism Awards 2018.

Retired AUT Professor of Journalism and Communication Studies and founder of the Pacific Media Center Dr David Roby
Retired AUT Professor of Journalism and Communication Studies and founder of the Pacific Media Center Dr David Roby. Photo: Alison Young/APMN

He praised USP journalism and said it was „advancing” compared to the journalism program at the University of Papua New Guinea, where he was head of journalism from 1993 to 1997.

Dr. Rabi has co-edited all three editions Pacific Journalism Review (BJR) Research Journal of Dr. Singh.

He is a keynote speaker 2024 Pacific International Media Conference Hosted by USP’s School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education (Journalism) in association with the Pacific Island News Association (PINA) and the Asia-Pacific Media Network (APMN).

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The conference will be held from July 4-6 at the Holiday Inn Suva. This year the BJR The conference will celebrate its 30th year of publication.

The editors will invite a selection of the best conference papers to be considered for publication in a special edition. BJR or subsidiary publication thereof Pacific Media.

Professor David Roby and Associate Professor and Chair of USP Journalism Shailendra Singh at the 18th USP Journalism Awards. Image: Wnsolwara/File

Referring to the recognition of his contribution to journalism, Dr Robbie told RNZ Pacific He was amazed and overjoyed, but at the same time he felt very humbled.

’Great support’
„However, it’s not just me, it’s my wife, Dell, who is a teacher, designer, and social activist, but she’s been an enormous supporter of the magazine and me over the years, saving me. I’m going through tough times.

“Those who have contributed over the years are in full swing, so it’s like recognition for all of us, especially the 13 years of hard work at the Pacific Media Center. So, yes, it’s a pleasure and I feel very privileged.

Reflecting on his 50 years in journalism, Dr Roby believes that respect for the mainstream media has declined.

„This situation is partly due to the mischievous actions of misinformation peddlers and manipulators, but it is also our fault in the media for severely compromising the lines between fact-based news and opinion/commentary, especially on television,” he said. Vansolvara news.

He said the recognition helped provide another level of „mana” at a time when public trust in the press had significantly declined, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic and the emergence of a „global misinformation pit”.

Journalists are fighting for the relevance of media today, said Dr Roby.

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“The Fourth Estate, as I knew it in the 1960s, has eroded over the past few decades. This is more complicated today with the constant challenges of social media behemoths and algorithm-driven misinformation and hate speech.

He urged journalists to believe in the importance of journalism in their communities and societies.

Believe truth to power
„Believe in the contribution we can make to understanding and progress. Believe in truth to power. Go out and save the world with courage, determination and facts, compassion and reason.

Despite the challenges, he believes journalism is more vital today than in the past.

„It is vital that our communities know that they have accurate and reliable information. Good journalism and investigative journalism are the bulwarks to effectively defend democracy against the anarchy of digital misinformation.

„Our existential struggle is to protect Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa – to protect our Pacific Ocean heritage for all of us.”

Dr. Robi started his career The Dominion In 1965, after part-time reporting while a trainee forester with the NZ Forest Service and a university science student, he worked as an international journalist and correspondent for agencies from Johannesburg to Paris.

He won several journalism awards and was awarded the Media Peace Prize in 1985. Rainbow Warrior bombing. He wrote the book while on an 11-week voyage with a bombed ship Eyes of fire About French and American nuclear weapons testing.

He too Traveled overland across Africa and the Sahara desert for a year While working as a freelance journalist in the 1970s.

In 2015, he was awarded AMIC Asian Communication Award in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Professor David Roby (second from right), and USP Journalism Chair Associate Professor Sailendra Singh, (left)
Professor David Roby (second from right), and USP Journalism Chair Associate Professor Shailendra Singh, (left) with winners of the 18th USP Journalism Awards 2018. Image: Vansolvara/File

Geopolitics, climate crisis and decolonization
Dr Roby cites geopolitics and the climate crisis as the two biggest issues for the Pacific, with the former often brought about by major global players, mainly the US, Australia and China.

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He said it was important for the Pacific to forge its own path, not to become pawns or hostages to this geopolitical competition, and for the news media to maintain its independence and critical distance.

„The latter issue, the climate crisis, is one that the Pacific faces due to its unique geography, remoteness and weather patterns. It is imperative that we act as a single 'Pacific voice’ to monitor the world on the urgent solutions the world needs. Fossil fuel advocates are passing by and putting us all at risk.

„Journalists really need to step up in their search for climate solutions.”

Dr. Robi also shared his views A recent surge in New Caledonia.

„In addition to the many economic problems for small and remote Pacific nations, there are issues of decolonization. The events of the past three weeks in Kanaki New Caledonia remind us that unresolved colonial issues should be central to the Pacific, not marginalized.

According to Dr Roby, Pacific political pressure and media exposure should be brought to bear on both Kanaki New Caledonia in France and Indonesia with „French” Polynesia or Maohi Nui and West Papua.

He called on the Pacific media to step up their investigations and the truth.

Monica Singh is the editor-in-chief of Won’t solve it, the online and print publication of the USP Journalism Program. Published in association with Vansolvara.

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