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David Robie Wins PIMA Pacific Media Freedom Award

AUT Media Educator Wins PIMA's Pacific Media Freedom Award

By Kate Fisher

Article courtesy of AUT Journalism

PIMA chair John Utanga, David Robie and Sandra Kailahi at the PIMA awards.

A two-day Pacific media conference was capped today with the annual awards and an AUT journalist and academic, David Robie, won the major prize - the Pacific Media Freedom Award.

The judges of the third annual awards, organised by the Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA), say they were excited by the calibre of the nominations at the conference with the theme “Our voices, our faces, our words, our dreams.”

The PIMA judges said Dr Robie’s role in Pacific media education was unrivalled, and he had been a strong advocate of journalism training in both the South Pacific and New Zealand for many years.

“The impact he has had on media freedom has also been huge - many of the region’s top journalists are his protégés and they continue to ask the hard questions and play their roles in the advance of democracy,” the panel said.

The judges also cited his work on the Pacific Journalism Review and Pacific Media Watch.

Dr Robie said he was overwhelmed and honoured to receive the award.

Previous winners of the Pacific Media Freedom Award have included the Taimi ‘o Tonga publisher Kalafi Moala and pro-democracy and newspaper activist Alani Taione.

Kennedee Jeffs, one of AUT’s third-year Bachelor of Communications Studies students, won the prize for Young Media Achiever with her 2005 Fresh Ed expo television report produced for the Tagata Pasifika programme at TVNZ, labelled by the judges as “exemplary work”.

The Best Television award went to Drum Productions and TV3’s Pacific Beat Street, for which the crew were said to have pushed the boundaries of what PIMA had come to expect of Pacific Island news and issues-based shows.

The 25-minute documentary Insight Tonga by Koro Vaka’uta from Radio New Zealand International won the Best Radio category.

PIMA said Vaka’uta’s work on the pro-democracy strikes in Tonga earlier this year was an insightful portrayal of “the conflict and forces at play in Tongan society”, showing his fervor in getting answers to serious questions.

No award was made in the print category this year.

Sponsored by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation this year for the first time, each winner received a framed scroll and $200.

Link to NZJTO:

  • Link to PIMA:

  • ENDS

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