Asia Pacific Media Educator


In April 1998 an agreement was reached between the main pro and anti-independence groups in New Caledonia that foreshadowed the granting of considerable political autonomy to the territory. The Noumea Accords, as the agreement was called, also put issues of identity at the centre of the political debate. From the moment of the ratification of the Accords on 8 November 1998, the classification of New Caledonia's population changed. Those who settled before 1988 acquired French and New Caledonian citizenship and were designated as "citizens". Those who arrived after 1988 could only be considered French citizen, and were called "nationals". The local media, which has a habit of ignoring sensitive political issues, has refused to discuss this distinction. However, it is clear that it will change deeply the conceptions the different Caledonian communities have of themselves.