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Gosche Condemns Reporting Of Pacific Issues

Gosche Condemns 'Shallow' Reporting Of Pacific Issues

By Nic Daley Te Waha Nui (AUT) reporter covering the PIMA conference http://artsweb.aut.ac.nz/Journalism/pima2004/

Labour MP Mark Gosche accused New Zealand's mainstream media today of being shallow and failing to seriously cover Pacific affairs at the Pacific Islands Media Association conference today.

The former minister of Pacific Island affairs criticised coverage of Pacific events and issues, saying the media was only interested if something had gone wrong.

"I am concerned with the shallow nature of reporting in this country. Unless a crisis such as a cyclone, coup or major accident happens, it's not covered," he said.

Gosche said many Pacific Islands events were not reported at all, or were only reported in a negative way.

But speakers at the PIMA conference praised the work of TVNZ's Tagata Pasifika, as well as new initiatives such as Spacific magazine and their coverage of Pacific news.

NZ Herald Pacific affairs reporter Angela Gregory said mainstream media had been shifting away from negative reporting that may have been a pattern in the past.

She cited the diversity committee, a voluntary group of journalists at the Herald that examined how the paper could increase the coverage of those groups that were less represented in the media.

"The important thing is that there is goodwill and a sense that there has to be a more broad ethnic coverage."

Gregory said there was no "overnight fix".

However, by broadening the scope in terms of the number of Pacific journalists in the media as well as the type events that are covered would help, she said.

Ole Maiava, an independent film maker, also called for more in-depth coverage of Pacific affairs.

"It would make more sense to have a programme once a week that covers Pacific issues - something like Foreign Correspondent, but it would be 'Pacific correspondent'."

Maiava said Pacific people should not worry about mainstream media at the moment, as it would develop and change as society changed.

"Mainstream media will look after itself. Instead of having the thought that we will aim at mainstream media, we need to just really create our own area," he said.

"Pacific people tend not to read the mainstream newspapers as often. So with that in mind it would make more sense to actually create a news programme that gives more in-depth coverage to stories that involve Pacific issues."

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