Melanesia Media Freedom Forum
About the forum
The Melanesia Media Freedom Forum (MMFF) was initiated in 2019 in response to concerns around increasing media repression in Melanesian nations which are our close neighbour. It strives to future-proof press freedom though trans-national regional co-operation and knowledge-sharing among Melanesian journalists, editors, publishers, press-freedom advocates and journalism scholars. Jo Chandler is a member of the coordinating team, her involvement in the region and with regional journalists coming out of many years reporting from and about Papua New Guinea. The University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism (CAJ) was a partner in funding the forum’s inaugural gathering in Brisbane in 2019.
Outcomes / activities
The MMFF held its first gathering in Brisbane in November 2019, bringing 13 leading media practitioners from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and West Papua for two days of discussions in Brisbane in a safe neutral venue under the Chatham house rule. They were joined by Australian journalists and editors with a close interest in regional issues, representatives of national and international media organisations, and a cross section of academics with interests in journalism and regional human rights and Pacific affairs. The forum concluded issuing a communique from the Melanesian journalists and editors which gained wide media coverage, including on this ABC report.
- Liam Fox. "Pacific journalists unite to fight for media freedom," on ABC Pacific Beat, Thursday 14 Nov 2019
- Melanesia Media Freedom Forum Outcome Statement (220kb pdf)
The event resulted in the publication of a collection of papers in a special themed edition of the Pacific Journalism Review in July 2020.
- Pacific Journalism Review Vol. 26 No. 1 (2020): Media freedom in Melanesia
Another gathering is anticipated after pandemic restrictions ease.
Members of the Forum continue to work closely together to spotlight instances of media repression, champion media freedom in the region, and support one another.
The University of Melbourne was a co-partner in the event together with Griffith University, TNC Pacific Consulting, MEAA and the Pacific Journalism Review