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Volume 4, Number 2, 2004


Abstracts

Virtual hostage dramas and real politics

By Kasun Ubayasiri

Kidnapping of foreigners and the production of hostage videos showing their pleas for life and in many cases their subsequent executions, have become a signature of post-war Iraqi terrorism. While the images make for striking news coverage they are but part of the terrorists’ overarching strategy which includes the subtext of exerting pressure on western nations which are part of the US-led coalition force. This paper examines the role of terrorist kidnappings and more importantly the release of hostage videos, in the overall terrorist strategy in Iraq. It also examines the terrorist machinations surrounding the execution of Englishman Kenneth Bigley and British-born Iraqi aid worker Margaret Hassan.

 

Free speech in China: an analysis of press coverage of the Article 23 debate

By Alan Knight

Freedom of speech is much spoken about but less frequently practised. According to Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. “This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers,” the declaration said. In most countries there is a gap between the ideal of free speech and the reality. Perhaps nowhere is this gap so glaring than in mainland China, where despite contstitutional guarantees, all media are rigorously controlled by the Communist party. Yet China today also encompasses the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Hong Kong, a long-standing beacon of a free press in Asia. This paper examines the contradictions, political consequences, and implications for freedom of speech in both Hong Kong and China that arises from that unique and optimistic formula: one country, two systems.

Getting it Right? Globalisation, colonialism and the media in the Pacific.

By Alan Knight

Fiji’s Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase complained this year of “inaccuracy, misinformation, distortion and bias” in reporting the Pacific region. He saw the solution as more training for Pacific journalists. Yet there is more to “getting it right” than accurately reporting Mr Qarase’s “facts”. What of journalists’ un-stated cultures and conventions, which frame international news so that Australian reporting of Pacific events may bear little resemblance to Pacific community priorities? How might these align with international diplomatic agendas? Are the resulting perceptions of misinformation and distortion created by differing national priorities, corporate interests, cultural assumptions or even refreshed colonial prejudices? This paper examines Australian press reporting of the Pacific Forum Summit meeting held in Samoa in August 2004 and compares it to that of the Pacific regional press. Journalists' views were considered in the context of the official communiqué issued at the end of the conference.

 

Sexism and the Cartoonists' Licence

By Haydon Manning

Australian cartoonists are occasionally criticised for using sexist stereotypes in their caricatures of women politicians. This article focuses on the predominately middle aged Australian male editorial cartoonists’ who grapple with developing suitable caricatures of women politician and asks whether sexist stereotypes tend to define their work.

 

Review: Freedom and media: making news is not without its problems in the Pacific

By Lee Duffield

David Robie has written a compendium on media and journalism in the South Pacific pointing out the strengths of free-spirited journalism and the dangers of politically-motivated media control. His main focus is on the two main countries Fiji and Papua New Guinea, leaving out the third major focus, the French Pacific territories.

Editor

Professor Alan Knight, Central Queensland University

Advisory Panel

Dr Yoshiko Nakano, Hong Kong University

Elliott S. Parker, Central Michigan University, USA

Dr Philip Robertson, Central Queensland University

Jim Tully, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Dr Stephen Stockwell, Griffith University

Philip Cass, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

Dr Steve Quinn, Sunshine Coast University

Dr Lee Duffield, QUT

     

Ejournalist is published by ejournalism.au.com, Faculty of Informatics and Communication, Central Queensland University