PNG Journalism under the spotlight

PNG Journalism under the spotlight

Pacific Media Watch [ David Robie]
Pacific Media Watch [ David Robie]

December 19th, 2004, 2:03 am #1

Found this story on the net by David Robie. There have been complaints about the performance of the media in PNG, and this may put their performance into perspective. It also raises an interesting question about the disproportionate salary of the expatriates (some of them unqualified in terms of graduate qualifications as well as actual experience) at some media organisations in PNG and their PNG workmates. Yu yet skelim?

inspired by Media Media Survey Puts Training, Pay Under Spotlight
Friday, 17 December 2004, 9:24 am
Press Release: Pacific Media Watch

New Media Survey Puts Training, Pay Under Spotlight
SUVA (AUT/Pacific Media Watch): Fiji journalists have less training and lack journalism qualifications compared with Papua New Guinea but are better paid, according to a new study on Pacific media.

However, wages and salaries for journalists in both countries are poor with almost half of surveyed Fiji journalists being paid $10,000 a year or less and more than two-thirds of PNG journalists in the equivalent K10,000 band.

A summary of the findings of the survey of 106 journalists in 13 news organisations in Fiji and PNG, conducted in 2001 by Auckland University of Technology senior lecturer in journalism Dr David Robie, was presented at the Australia-based Journalism Education Association (JEA) conference in Suva, Fiji, last week.

The findings have also been published in a new book by the author, Mekim Nius: South Pacific Media, Politics and Education.

The book was launched in Suva last week by USP Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra and Tongan newspaper publisher Kalafi Moala.

The survey followed similar research as a pilot study in 1998/9. The earlier findings were published in Australian Studies in Journalism journal.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Robie said: "Marked differences were found in the profiles of Fiji and Papua New Guinean journalists, especially in education and professional formation, salaries and in their professional attitudes..

"In general, Papua New Guinean journalists were better educated, older, more experienced, but more poorly paid.
"While there were similarities in the core values of journalism between the two countries, PNG journalists appeared to have more sophisticated values in their relationship and role within the community, which is likely to be attributed to tertiary education."

In both countries, journalists (86 percent of those surveyed) regarded investigative journalism as important to the new media's commitment to its Fourth Estate role. However, more journalists in Fiji (46 percent) regarded culture as more of an obstacle while more PNG journalists (35 percent) saw lack of resources as a problem.

"The issues of pay and cultural factors pose serious questions about the impact these may have on the autonomy of journalists and the Fourth Estate role of news media in a South Pacific democracy," said Dr Robie.

He called for more research in this area while remarking that his book explored some of these issues.

Comparing the 2001 findings with the earlier research, Dr Robie said the proportion of PNG journalists with degrees and diplomas had climbed from 73 percent to 81 percent, almost threefold higher than in Fiji.

"Yet there had also been some changes in Fiji. While in 1998/9 just 14 percent of Fiji journalists had a degree or diploma, by 2001 the number had increased by more than a third.

"This reflected the growing number of graduate journalists entering the workplace from the University of the South Pacific.

"Conversely, the proportion of journalists without basic training or qualifications climbed slightly in both countries to almost half of all journalists in Fiji (49 percent) and 14 percent in PNG."

The mean age for journalists in Fiji was 24.7 years and in PNG 28.9 while the mean experience in Fiji was 3.5 years - an increase over 1998/9 - and 5.5 years in PNG.

Salaries and working conditions stirred many strong and bitter qualitative comments from respondents, reported the author.

"More than two-thirds of PNG journalists (68 percent) were in the lowest paid band of between K5000 and K10,000 a year. Almost half of the Fiji journalists (47 percent) were in the lowest range.

"Significantly more Fiji journalists were also in the two next highest scales of $10,000 to $15,000 (23 percent) and $15,000 to $20,000 (21 percent). In both categories, PNG fared at 14 percent and six percent respectively."

Asked how journalists ought to be trained, 53 percent of Fiji journalists opted for a combination of cadetship and university education while just 9 percent thought they should be recruited as school leavers and trained on the job.

However, asked the same question about the perceived view of their news organisation, 47 percent favoured cadetship and university education and 30 percent said their organisation preferred school leavers.

In Papua New Guinea, the views were reversed. None opted for school leavers while 62 percent favoured university education with a media industry internship.

PNG perceptions about the view of their news organisation showed six percent in favour of school leavers learning on the job with 46 percent supporting university education and an internship.


Joined: January 30th, 2003, 3:42 am

December 29th, 2004, 6:42 am #2

To be honest ..their media reporting still lack profesionalism ...a friend of mine from states was branded a conman ....working in the Bereina district ..seeking funds for a agriculture project could the journalist asked for a pay rise when his or her reporting lacks careful check on the allegation on ma friend as a conman....???

at least the journalist could have made a research on ma friend n let alone allow an add to contact the paper to show his side of the story..furthermore contact imigration and american embassy if such a person exist friend ended up with the papers editor and ppl in charge there and have to set records straight ...


1. Carry out a through research and investigation before all reporting are made public

2. Your media coverage could have slam a major agricultural development investment in PNG and for the Bereina people....

3. If you have done ur homework would have found out hes a lawyer by profession and is engaged in PNG by the american embassy ..

4....and finally ...its appropriate & still fair on jornalists here in PNG to be still in the same band ....promotion or an improvement to a higher Band is required with quality research n reporting ...then you will have a worthy cause to cry for ...



January 17th, 2005, 3:00 am #3

I know David ... my lecturer at UPNG and I also agree with the contents of the article ... and I also agree with Squiler .... that professionalism is lacking within PNG media. There is a high turn-over of journalists each year. Experienced journo have left for greener pastures because media companies cannot pay well. That leaves young graduates straight out of colleges with less savvy on how to approach news stories, research them, ask systematic questions and write fair, balanced reports without bias to do the job. With much theories and less practice ... they are bound to make mistakes. Editors and managements of news media organisations should be held responsible for these flaws by their employees.

Former Newshound