18 research outputs found

    COVID-19 vaccine online misinformation in Fiji: Preliminary findings

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    Digital media, opens a vast array of avenues for lay people to effectively engage with news, information and debates about important science and health issues. However, they have also become a fertile ground for various stakeholders to spread misinformation and disinformation, stimulate uncivil discussions and engender ill-informed, dangerous public decisions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, antivaccination social media accounts are proliferating online, threatening to further escalate vaccine hesitancy. The pandemic signifies not only a global health crisis, it has also proven to be an infodemic characterised by many conspiracy theories. Prior research indicates that belief in health-related conspiracies can harm efforts to curtail the spread of a virus. This article presents and examines preliminary research findings on COVID-19 vaccine related misinformation being circulated on Fijian Facebook Forums

    A crucible for bottom-up regionalism? The digital renaissance: West Papuan media suppression and social media in the Pacific

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    Commentary: West Papua has one of the most repressive media landscapes in the world. Consequently, West Papuans have increasingly harnessed social media platforms to broadcast human rights violations committed in West Papua. Through this, Pacific Islanders around the region are increasingly leveraging social media as a political tool for showing solidarity and support for West Papuans. As a result, in recent years there has been a regional groundswell in support for West Papuan demands for self-determination, with prominent political figures such as Peter O’Neill of Papua New Guinea, and Gordon Darcy Lilo alluding to the awareness on West Papuan issues that have been raised through social media. This commentary explores how the rise of West Papua solidarity, is resulting in a heightened Pacific regional consciousness at the community level

    Climate change advocacy in the Pacific: The role of information and communication technologies

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    This article explores the phenomenon of the use of ICT for climate change activism in the Pacific. Climate change activism in the Pacific is characterised by the use of ICT tools such as social media. The article draws on semi-structured interviews and an analysis of social media sites to examine the use of social media in Pacific climate change campaigns. While other campaigns such as relating to West Papua have also been facilitated by social media, it has been generally NGO, citizen-led and varied in Pacific government support. In contrast, climate change campaigns in the Pacific are fully supported at the NGO, citizen, and state levels. Furthermore, while early Pacific ICT-based climate change campaigns used iconic images of Pacific Islanders leaving their homelands, more recent campaigns have leveraged social media to depict Pacific Islanders not as victims but as ‘warriors’. This new imagery aims to empower Pacific Islanders and engender a regional Pacific identity that shows strength and solidarity on the Pacific’s stance towards climate change

    The political affordances of the ‘coconut wireless’: Rotumans on social media in the 2018 Fiji elections

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    As a unique group of people, Rotumans make up less than two percent of Fiji’s population, and as a minority Indigenous ethnic group in Fiji, they have remained relatively hidden and silent in political affairs. Outmigration from the island has led to more than 80 percent of Rotumans residing outside of Rotuma. In recent times, the Rotuman diaspora has heavily relied on the use of ICTs and new media technologies as crucial tools for the reinvigoration of Rotuma’s culture. This in itself poses an intriguing paradox as internet connectivity on Rotuma is quite limited. However, social media platforms have been increasingly used by Rotumans outside of Rotuma, and have enabled increased connectivity and greater dissemination of information among the Rotuman diaspora. Recently, the primary purpose of such social media groups has evolved from merely being a tool for rekindling familial ties, to being a platform for political discourse on Rotuman issues. In essence, despite the scattered nature of the Rotuman population, digital technologies are offering Rotumans the affordance of being able to inform and educate themselves and their networks on political issues of Rotuman interest. By employing ethnography and netnography principles and through in-person and online engagement with Rotumans within and outside of Rotuma, this article examines the affordances that digital technologies offer Rotumans concerning national political discourse. This is carried out with a specific focus on the 2018 general elections in Fiji

    Fiji Flag Change: Social Media Responds

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    This In Brief seeks to discuss and assess the public social media responses from the two main social media sites that were publicised by the Fijian government, for public feedback on the flag change proposal

    Fiji Flag Change: Social Media Responds

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    This In Brief seeks to discuss and assess the public social media responses from the two main social media sites that were publicised by the Fijian government, for public feedback on the flag change proposal.AusAI

    Disaster, Divine Judgment, and Original Sin: Christian Interpretations of Tropical Cyclone Winston and Climate Change in Fiji

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    Paradise in the Pacific is often rendered as a natural state where “native” people live in simple harmony without the need for government or state institutions. However, Christian traditions also include paradise not simply as a state of inno- cence but also as a narrative of salvation history in which paradise is lost through original sin and must be restored through sacrifice and repentance. This article takes recent Fijian Christian interpretations of Tropical Cyclone Winston as a key site in which contested ideologies of Paradise are being reworked. As the idyll of island harmony is disrupted by disaster, Christians have seen Winston as an act of divine judgment and punishment on a sinful people. This essay analyzes how narratives of a sinful nation intersect with contemporary formulations of climate change, disaster, politics, and human agency

    Internet under threat?: The politics of online censorship in the Pacific Islands

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    In the Pacific, there have been startling news releases of governments making attempts at censoring the internet, a move seen to point towards silencing dissenting views on popular online forums. The conflicting trends between the new political forum ushered in by the new media on the one hand, and the restrictive mode of state censorship on the other hand, pose serious challenges to the broader framework of rights and freedom of expressions. The aim of this article is to examine the regulatory approaches being developed and/or proposed in response to the emergence of new media in Pacific Island Countries (PICs). This article reviews two ways in which Pacific island governments are attempting to regulate the internet: firstly through the development of legislation to prosecute cybercriminals, and secondly through the banning of certain internet sites, most notably Facebook. Despite the disparities in internet penetration levels, the article reveals that nearly all countries in the Pacific are increasingly regulating or are moving towards regulating the internet. The justifications for internet regulation and censorship are largely predicated around the rhetoric of protecting its citizens from the negative effects of the internet.  However, these regulations seem to be a response to Pacific Island governments’ fears of growing criticism and dissent on social media platforms

    Political Social Media Campaigning In Fiji's 2014 Elections

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    This research explores the contemporary phenomenon of online political campaigning in the 2014 Fiji Elections. With increasing Internet and mobile penetration, Fijian citizens, especially youths, have become more Internet savvy. Fiji’s youth represents 47% of Fiji’s voting population and some argue that securing the youth vote may have held the key to winning the 2014 Fiji elections. Candidates therefore had begun employing social media to appeal to the younger demographic. This research examines this emerging new trend by analysing the Facebook pages of candidates and parties vying for a seat in Fiji’s 201
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