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Sean Dorney Receives Acfid Media Award

RELEASED: Friday, October 12, 2012

Sean Dorney Receives Acfid Media Award

The ABC congratulates Australia Network’s Pacific Correspondent Sean Dorney, who received the Australian Council for International Development’s inaugural ACFID Media Award last night for his lifetime commitment to reporting on Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

Sean Dorney is one of the ABC’s most respected and experienced correspondents and the award recognises his journalistic contribution to coverage of the Pacific region.

For the past 38 years, Sean’s work has involved covering news and events in the Pacific. He spent 20 years living in Papua New Guinea, 17 of those as the ABC’s PNG Correspondent. Dorney returned to Australia in 1999 to become the ABC’s Pacific Correspondent based in Brisbane, reporting for ABC News, Australia Network and Radio Australia.

"I'm delighted to receive this award because I don't think we as Australians really appreciate the crucial role that so many of our own people play in trying to help foster positive development in our own neighbourhood. The stories need to be told," Dorney said.

ABC Director of News Kate Torney said, “The magnificent contribution that Sean has made and continues to make with his reporting of stories in the Pacific is unmatched. His commitment to the region and his tireless enthusiasm and work ethic as a video journalist for Australia Network and his reporting for Radio Australia, makes him very deserving of such an award. It is wonderful that Sean has been recognised for his work by the Australian Council for International Development.”

The first of Dorney’s three postings to Papua New Guinea began in 1974, just before PNG independence. In 1979 he returned to Port Moresby as the ABC correspondent, but was expelled in 1984 by the then Foreign Minister, Rabbie Namaliu following a dispute between the PNG government and the ABC over the screening of an interview with Irian Jayan rebel leader, James Nyaro, by the Four Corners program.

Sean returned to Port Moresby as the ABC’s correspondent in 1987 and in 1991 the government of Prime Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu awarded him an MBE for “Services to Broadcasting and Sport”. For 18 months in 1991/92 Sean was seconded to the PNG National Broadcasting Commission, as an in-country project manager for an AusAid/ABC assistance project.

In 1997 Sean led the ABC’s radio and television coverage of the Sandline mercenary crisis and in 1998 was awarded the Walkley Award for Radio News reporting for his coverage of the tsunami that struck PNG in July 1998.

Sean returned to Australia in 1999 to take up the job of Pacific Correspondent based in Brisbane. In 2000 he completed a two-part television documentary marking the 25th anniversary of PNG independence and spanning his own quarter of a century involvement with the country.

Sean has covered seven PNG elections, the most recent one this year. As he said at the time, “No matter how much time you spend in Papua New Guinea you can still be baffled by the next development”.

Sean has also written two books on Papua New Guinea affairs.


The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) is the peak body for Australian aid and development non-government organizations. They have over 90 member organizations who operate in over 100 developing countries worldwide, with field perspectives and international networks, as well as substantial Australian community support, to debates around issues of national and international importance.


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