NEWS DESK | Pacific Mornings | Radio Australia
MELBOURNE - Ben Bohane has been announced as the winner of the Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism.
The $10,000 grant was available to an Australian journalist wanting to do a project on a story that was under-reported in the Pacific.
Mr Bohane is an Australian photojournalist, author and TV producer who has been covering the Pacific for decades.
When accepting the grant Mr Bohane said that under-reporting in the Pacific with Australian media is a real issue.
"Honestly, our news editors are failing the Australian people by not prioritising more reporting from the Pacific," Mr Bohane said.
Mr Bohane will use the grant to cover the Bougainville referendum which he covered back in 1990s.
"I covered the Bougainville war from both sides... and then followed the peace process through so it feels like we're coming to a culmination of that whole process," Mr Bohane said.
Profile of Ben Bohane (extracts from website of Waka Photos)
BEN BOHANE is an Australian photojournalist, author and TV producer who has covered Asia and the Pacific islands for the past 25 years. He is the founder and present director of Wakaphotos.
After several years in Sydney working on alternative lifestyle magazines, Bohane’s first foreign reportage assignment was covering the Vietnamese army withdrawal from Cambodia in 1989. He then spent the next four years based in South and South East Asia covering the wars of Cambodia, Burma and Afghanistan.
In 1994, Bohane returned to Australia and began covering the much under-reported Pacific region. Since then he has focused on ‘kastom and conflict’ throughout Melanesia and indigenous Australia, documenting cults, cargo cults and new religious movements across the region.
While covering every major conflict in the South Pacific – East Timor, West Papua, Maluku, PNG, Solomon Islands, Bougainville, Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia - he travelled and lived with a variety of tribal, cult and rebel groups and was thereby able to secure the first pictures of BRA leader Francis Ona in Bougainville in 1994 and the only interview and pictures of Guadalcanal warlord Harold Keke, before he surrendered to Australian and RAMSI troops in the Solomon Islands in 2003.
His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Stern (Germany), Monocle, The Guardian, French Geo, Asahi Shimbun and many publications in Australia. He has also done TV news stories and documentaries that have been shown on ABC & SBS TV Australia, BBC, F24 (France), ARD (Germany) and NHK (Japan).
In 2003 he published ‘Follow the Morning Star’ documenting the forgotten struggle for independence in West Papua. HIs latest book, ‘The Black Islands—Spirit and War in Melanesia’, has been published by Waka Press.
He is on the advisory council for the Pacific Institute of Public Policy: