Home > Corruption, Human rights, Papua New Guinea > PNG official says govt to monitor dissent

PNG official says govt to monitor dissent

February 28, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments


The Papua New Guinea government has launched a crackdown on “subversive” activity on the internet.

It has begun monitoring the internet and is urging citizens to dob in anyone spreading “malicious and misleading” anti-state information online and via text messages.

Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, Ben Micah, announced the initiative in the Port Moresby-based The National Newspaper on Monday.

“The military, police and the National intelligence Organisation and other pro-government civilian networks are monitoring all attempts to destabilise the government’s firm control of the country,” Mr Micah said.

“All patriots and law-abiding citizens are required to be vigilant.

“Such misinformation includes any information which you consider to be illegal and detrimental to the peace and good order of your community and subversive to the overall security of the nation.”

Mr Micah also referred to anti-government information sent via text message and email, and comments posted on Facebook.

Mr Micah has yet to respond to queries from AAP.

Six telephone numbers have been listed for citizens to call and report so-called suspicious activity.

AAP tried to call all six, but they were either disconnected or rang out.

A police spokesman, who declined to be named, told AAP that no orders had been issued by the government for the monitoring of social networking sites.

“No orders have trickled down at this time and so far the police have no involvement,” he said.

Both the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Pacific Media Centre (PMC) say the announcement raises deep concerns over free speech and the rights of individual privacy.

“The statement threatens unspecified punishment for those found to be using personal communications technology in a manner deemed illegal and detrimental,” the groups said in a joint statement.

“It appears to criminalise the personal use of phones, email and social networking websites without a clear legal mandate.

“Policies and laws which attempt to censor or punish those expressing themselves online, or via other communications technologies, violate this core principle of democracy.”

On the popular PNG Facebook group, Sharp Talk, reactions were similar to those of the IFJ and the PMC.

“Is Ben Micah forgetting that freedom of speech is one of the fundamental pillars of democracy,” wrote Samson Metofa.

The outlook of another site visitor, Johnny Mortel, was more grim.

“I won’t be surprised of this site is deleted from Facebook,” he wrote. “If that’s the case … talkers here will be sniped down.”

PNG has just emerged from a period of intense political turmoil after the Supreme Court ordered the return to power of ousted prime minister Sir Michael Somare without the backing of the majority of parliament.

Mr O’Neill and his supporters have been running the country since August last year, and maintained control of the nation during a failed bloodless mutiny attempt at the behest of Sir Michael’s ousted cabinet in January.

  1. February 28, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Hello Mr Ben Micah, welcome to the modern world of IT!computers,iPhones,wireless divices etc etc …. Sori tumas Olsem u still stap yet Lo tumbuna pasin blo salim toktok or toksave… The Internet and modern communication and freedom is here to stay wether belden Nama/Oneil and Micah like it or not. Period. We will fight for our freedom and democracy.. We do not want Gestapo,or dictatorship etc etc…

    • Justin T
      February 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      Hello Ben Micah, welcome to the world of encrypted e-mail, shifting SIM cards, IP proxies and TOR, and all that nice stuff. What worked in Egypt and is working in Syria will work in PNG if need be. MONITOR US and watch your dirty laundry being hung up for the entire world to see and laugh at what a hilarious little banana republic your fat little arse is making us into.

  2. Las Island
    March 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Folks, PNGIndustryNews interview with Micha on the topic!


  3. November 23, 2013 at 8:25 am


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