Latest PJR Highlights 'Plagiarism And Fabulism'
AUCKLAND (AUT Journalism/Pacific Media Watch): A New Zealand media educator has called for an industry debate and action on the problems of plagiarism and fabulism in an article in the latest edition of Pacific Journalism Review.
Alan Samson, of Massey University's journalism school, writing in a special 254-page "ethics and accountability" edition of the journal, says "electronic wizardry makes plagiarism easier" and "it seems sensible for the industry to heighten its sensitivity" to a global problem.
Samson's analysis of the state of plagiarism and fabulism in New Zealand today follows a national row last month over former Pacific reporter John Manukia. The reporter was sacked from the Herald on Sunday newspaper after revelations that he had fabricated a two-page profile on an ex-police officer who used controversial law-and-order methods.
This edition of PJR is co-edited by Professor Claude-Jean Bertrand, of Paris University 2, and Associate Professor David Robie, of Auckland University of Technology. Bertrand is a leading advocate of media accountability systems (MAS).
In his introductory commentary, Bertrand is critical of the slowness of "self-regulation" approaches which produce results that are "rarely spectacular".
"Some of them do seem to be little more than a PR operation, or than a legislation-avoiding operation," he says.
"They do seem incapable of eliminating the most serious media sins, like omission or infotainment. And then, some are quite expensive."
Bertrand argues that the United States has demonstrated that over the past 10 years a deregulated market has caused a "terrible decline of the press, print and electronic".
While freedom and regulation are needed, they are not enough, he says. A third force - "quality control" or the "public service ideal" - is needed.
"It consists in an alliance of profession and people to provide proper information to be gathered and distributed so that democracy can survive."
In other wide-ranging articles contained in PJR, associate professor and investigative journalist Wendy Bacon provides an analysis of 20 years of reporting of Aboriginal deaths in custody as a case study in a failure of media ethics; Shailendra Singh documents media accountability systems in the South Pacific; former New Zealand Herald editor-in-chief Gavin Ellis analyses self-regulatory media systems in New Zealand; and James Hollings dissects ethical issues for media coverage of the Asian tsunami.
Anthony Mason offers interviews with 1987 Fiji military coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka and former Fiji Times editor Vijendra Kumar. They were conducted as part of his ongoing doctoral research on reporting of the coups.
* Copies of PJR can be ordered from USP Book Centre in Fiji or South Pacific Books Ltd in NZ. Subscriptions are available direct from the PJR website at AUT:
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PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).
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