Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

Millennium Mayhem

Volume 6, Issue 1

December, 1999

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Author(s): David Robie

THE PACIFIC has entered the third millennium after a tempestuous time in the final year of the 20th Century. All the recent events have had an impact on the region's media. The fragile peace in Bougainville has continued to experience hiccups; the state of emergency in the Solomon Islands over ethnic unrest and even the historic change of government in the Fiji Islands with the country's first Indo-Fijian prime minister have unleashed tensions. But the major upheaval, of course, has been in East Timor's devastating transition to independence from Indonesia and in the resurgence of West Papua (recently "renamed" Papua from Irian Jaya by Jakarta's colonial authorities) as a news story. Along with rebuilding a shattered infrastructure, laid waste by a cynical and callous scorched earth policy by the departing Indonesians, Timor Lorosae seeks to re-establish a social and social cohesion - and part of this process involves the creation of a genuinely independent news media.