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Charles Frater tribute to Tony Leo 31 April 2017

31 Mar

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 11.30.17

Letter published after it was announced that the state-funded SAMS was closing down. In fact, SHG persuaded SAMS to continue operating, apparently with a reduced service. It is important to note that the projected success of SAMS was based on the assumption that the opening of the airport would boost the island’s economy, which had yet to happen at the time of the letter being written.


Extended Statehood: useful background on Caribbean OTs, with insights for St Helena

11 Aug

Rozenburg Quarterly has a lengthy piece by Peter Clegg (a book chapter?) that neatly sets out the constitutional background to the UKOTs in the Caribbean, and the power of governors and such like. It’s here

Reviving this site

11 Aug

I’m reviving this long-dormant site as a notebook for things that might be useful if I ever get round to doing higher-level research on St Helena.

Media and freedom: if the Cook Islands can do it…

7 Sep

The Prime Minister of the Cook Islands has said a few things about the need for media and government to have a somewhat better relationship than the one that exists – or rather, barely exists – between their counterparts on St Helena.

The Pacific Media Centre – part of AUT University in New Zealand – reports:

“Our experience in the Cook Islands is marked by long history of media freedom. Twenty-three years ago one of our former leaders, the late Sir Geoffrey Henry, was instrumental in shaping the local media into what it is today,” he said, acknowledging the late Sir Geoffrey’s move to privatise media and broadcast organisations.

“Although this history may well be portrayed as chequered, patchy or uneven, what has remained important to us over the years is that the pillar of the fourth estate continues to be an essential ingredient in the maturity of our country.”

Puna said the Cook Islands had enacted the Official Information Act, which committed a government to addressing the information needs of the community it represented.

“In fact, these responsibilities to uphold such freedoms in the flow of information, I believe, are shared responsibilities. The weight of our freedoms is a burden for us all, elected officials and the media alike. In balancing the need to know, particular consideration must be paid to the way that this commitment and responsibility is managed,” he said.

“Strangely, however, very little is said about developing partnerships between the media and governments. I ask the question: Are our interests so at odds that the divide cannot be bridged? I don’t think so.”

Do people actually want media freedom and open government?

7 Sep

In campaigning for media access to government papers on St Helena – crucially, agendas of meetings, which are blocked – I’m assuming that British-style democracy is what people want on St Helena.

It may not be a good assumption. My latest post in the St Helena Freedom of Information campaign ends by asking site users whether they actually prefer to trust councillors and officials to act in their own best interest.

In my podcast on slavery, a prominent expatriate Saint says St Helenians have grown up in a colonial system, assuming that what their colonial masters did was “for their best.”

And now, in an academic paper on journalism in Papua New Guinea, an unnamed journalist is quoted as saying that “absolute democracy is un-Melanesian”.

It seems unthinkable to me; but actually, democracy isn’t the only way to run a country. The trouble is that St Helenians have been kept in the dark for so long that many are not politically engaged, so it is easy for people to claim there is no interest in, or demand for, open government and media freedom.

Media, Information and Development in Papua New Guinea Evangelina Papoutsaki and Dick Rooney (Eds) 2006, DWU Press, Madang. Available from:,+Information+and+Development+in+Papua+New+Guinea.-a0179779878

Another guide to what I’m meant to do

7 Sep

From Paul:

This is what your project is assessed on:

Utilise a knowledge and critical understanding of professional conventions and possible innovations in an appropriate area of professional practice;
TRANSLATION: What conventions are you adopting? What innovations are you exploring?
Plan and implement an appropriate production project which will solve contemporary problems of professional practice, and deal creatively with complex issues;
TRANSLATION: What problems are you trying to solve? What problems came up during the project that you had to deal with – and how?
Critically evaluate project products and processes in relation to industry norms, current trends and opportunities, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
TRANSLATION: What have other people done in the same field/problems? How did you adapt that?
Reflect on the process of media and cultural production and evaluate the usefulness of the knowledge and skill developed as strategies for professional advancement.
TRANSLATION: What did you learn, and how can/have you communicate/d that to the industry?

Deep fried chip and pin, anyone?

6 Sep

From the website of the Chatham Islands, 500 miles off New Zealand:
“Essential services: post office, bank and fish and chip shop.”