Monday 28 May 2018 | 03:20 | SYDNEY
Monday 28 May 2018 | 03:20 | SYDNEY

Pacific links: Talanoa Dialogue, Press freedom, and more

New Caledonia. (Photo: Sekundo / Flickr)
  • On World Press Freedom Day (3 May) many media reports highlighted the state of the media in the Pacific. At The Daily Post, Dan McGarry called for an end to the persecution of the Fiji Times. The newspaper, its publisher, two editors, and a letter writer are on trial over an allegedly seditious letter published two years ago. Also on the subject of press freedom, Radio New Zealand has outlined some of the challenges faced by media in the Pacific.
     
  • Stephen Murray, on his personal blog, has published a thorough history of how the Australian High Court came to serve as Naruru’s Court of Appeal. The arrangement was terminated in March.
     
  • French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to New Caledonia made news in the Pacific this week. Macron was careful not to openly campaign in regards to the upcoming independence referendum, despite declaring that “France would not be the same without New Caledonia”. Denise Fisher saw the visit (“French choreography in the Pacific”) as one that “set the tone” for the months leading up to the vote – promoting respect for all positions and affirming “a common New Caledonian identity valued by France within a broader regional vision”.
     
  • Shadow Minister for Defence Richard Marles delivered a speech in Washington this week criticising Australia’s “lack of leadership” in the Pacific, calling the region Australia’s “global calling card” and arguing that we are judged on our behaviour in the Pacific and the fortunes of the region. He also stated that Australia has no right to expect Pacific island nations not to welcome deeper relations with China. Instead, he said, Australia must earn its place as partner of choice for the Pacific.
     
  • Here on The Interpreter, Tess Newton Cain, Anna Powles, and Jose Sousa-Santos argue (“Working with China in the Pacific”) that Chinese aid in the Pacific is “here to stay” and consider the risks and opportunities of increasing coordination and collaboration with China.
     
  • At Devpolicy, Steve Pollard looks at the challenges and limitations to growth in the Pacific and their implication for development, offering positive models for each challenge identified.
     
  • The 48th Sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies is underway in Bonn, the first such meeting to embrace the Talanoa Dialogue – a more inclusive approach to climate negotiations, spearheaded by Fiji, where countries, businesses, cities, scientists, and non-governmental organisations meet as equals. Previously, official negotiations were undertaken by government representatives only.
     
  • There was some welcome news in this year’s Australian budget for the Pacific, with funding announced for a new Australian High Commission in Tuvalu. And although foreign aid spending has remained steady at $4.2 million, a large portion of it is earmarked for the Pacific, in particular to fund new undersea communications cables. 
     
  • New Zealand, which will release its own budget next week, has announced it will bolster foreign aid spending, with the bulk of increased funds going towards its much-touted “Pacific reset”.
     
  • This extended cut of Mighty Island’s video from the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam was featured recently as part of the Treasures of Festpac exhibition at the Guam Museum.

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