Melanesia Media Freedom Forum

Group shot at the end of the inaugural MMFF gathering in Brisbane 2019 (Credit: MMFF)
Group shot at the end of the inaugural MMFF gathering in Brisbane 2019 (Credit: MMFF)

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.

More information can be found on the Griffith University Melanesia Media Freedom Forum website.

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.

The event resulted in the publication of a collection of papers in a special themed edition of the Pacific Journalism Review in July 2020.

Another gathering is anticipated after pandemic restrictions ease.

Impact

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.

Multimedia

Picture of Fiji editor Fred Wesley (left) and Papua New Guinea journalist Scott Waide (Credit: MMFF)
Picture of Fiji editor Fred Wesley (left) and Papua New Guinea journalist Scott Waide (Credit: MMFF)
Picture of forum discussion (Credit: MMFF)
Picture of forum discussion (Credit: MMFF)
Cover of Pacific Journalism Review Vol. 26 No. 1 (2020): Media freedom in Melanesia
Cover of Pacific Journalism Review Vol. 26 No. 1 (2020): Media freedom in Melanesia

Project details

Sponsors

The University of Melbourne was a co-partner in the event together with Griffith University, TNC Pacific Consulting, MEAA and the Pacific Journalism Review

Contact

Josephine Chandler