South Pacific notions of the fourth estate: A collision of media models, culture and values
South Pacific media is generally projected as embracing Western news values with the ideals of "objectivity" and "facticity" being paramount. In fact, while this may well be partially true of the Western-owned mainstream media in the two largest nations, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, the reality is far more complex. In many respects, Pacific media have more in common with other developing nations, such as in India, Indonesia and the Philippines. Some argue that unique forms of media language are evolving in the region, while others assert that a unique style of Pacific journalism is emerging. This paper discusses notions of Fourth Estate in the South Pacific and outlines and applies a "Four Worlds" news values model that contrasts with media in the dominant regional neighbour states, Australia and New Zealand. It also assesses the findings of two rounds of empirical research in the newsrooms of Fiji and Papua New Guinea (1998/9 and 2001). Finally, the paper argues for major changes t alter a mindset in the region among news organizations that have been reluctant to invest in human resource development or recognize the importance of education for media and democracy.