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PNG’s media reeling from Government crackdown on dissent

November 14, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Source: Radio New Zealand

Papua New Guinea’s media are reeling from a crackdown by the Government as observers say media freedom is “non-existent”.

Three senior journalists were recently demoted by the national broadcaster, and a media adviser of the Sustainable Development Programme was deported last week.

As a major investigation into corruption from within the Government continues, the Prime Minister is leading a campaign to silence its critics.

Alex Perrottet reports:

In this year’s Reporters Without Borders media report, PNG has dropped six places in the rankings. This month, three editors and producers with decades of experience were told by NBC management they would be continuing in the archives section. It came after reports on the government take-over of the Ok Tedi mine, and on allegations the prime minister is implicated in the allegedly corrupt payments to the arrested lawyer Paul Paraka. The Chair of the Pacific Freedom Forum, Titi Gabi, says there has been strong pressure from the Government.

“TITI GABI: There is concern from individuals about what this means and where the industry might be heading because you know, managers have become the editors and it’s just quite silly, it’s quite dangerous.”

Titi Gabi says the pressure is not just on the national broadcaster.

“TITI GABI: This particular TV company has got instructions from the top, saying you can’t run anything on us that’s negative because if you do, you know, we’ll force you to sell your shares, we won’t renew your licence. So what you have is managers interfering with news – how ridiculous is that?”

The PNG media council has long been accused of inaction. A former editor of the Post Courier newspaper, Bob Howarth, says there’s a deafening silence, apart from social media sites and some brave journalists.

“BOB HOWARTH: It appears that the PNG Media Council has virtually collapsed and there are several looming threats to press freedom in terms of journalists being downgraded in the National Brodacasting Corporation.”

“The managing director of NBC, Memafu Kapera, declined to speak, but issued a press release saying the veteran broadcasters breached editorial policy and failed to follow instructions. But in an email, he would not say which reports undermined NBC’s reputation of fairness and impartiality. Of the three demoted, he writes: Two have fully understood the requirements of their new assignments and they are happy to take on the new responsibilities. They cannot run to the industry for protection using media freedom as a front.

Before his arrest, Paul Paraka had filed an injunction against the media for reporting on the allegations he had received massive payments from the Government. Police say they are now investigating people in high places in the Government, and since the arrest of Mr Paraka, the Government itself has issued directives on reporting.

Last week the media advisor for the Sustainable Development Programme, Mark Davis, was arrested by heavily armed police and deported to Australia with nothing but his passport, after criticising the Government for taking over the fund. The Prime Minister, Peter O’Neil, defended the move, saying Mr Davis’ had breached his work permit by playing politics. Mr Davis defended his role.”

“MARK DAVIS: Of course it’s going to have a political element. I write media releases for the chairman and the chief executive criticising the government, I write advertisements criticising the government’s actions and calling into question its behaviour, that’s my job.”

Social media sites have been campaigning for the PM to explain himself.

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  1. Kanex Kanarepa
    November 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Thats good!! And you got the kick in your butt for doing your job!! Obviously of course sorry for you Davis, you happen to be a sausage in a Political sandwich. Just make use of your expertise elsewhere and stay out of the controversy as only PNGians can solve this matter by sitting around and talking the Melanesian way. After all the pig will be sluttered and shared as usual amoung the rich or evenly or only GOD knows what is going to happen!!!.

  2. Wanker
    November 14, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Please all of you fine citizens who read this article. Let’s all keep sitting on our butts and letting this happen, just like we do with everything. The reason why government slowly becaomes more of a dictator is because we citizens never do anything but like postings. I’m just like the rest of you. I’m a worm, I’m paralyzed, I won’t take any action even if all PNG’s newspapers were taken over by the government tomorrow and became mouthpieces of the government just like in North Korea. I agree with the PM that all our media should be owned by nationals, because we PNG people are easier for the government to bribe and buy out. That way the media can look like it’s independent but be controlled by government bribes under the table. We’ve really got to be some of the most pathetic people on this earth. Me you, and all the rest of us wankers who sit and do nothing but complain on social media sites and blogs.

  3. R Kaupa
    November 15, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Obviously with the kind of confrontational adverts in the daily newspapers that the Mekere/PNGSDP team were putting out, somebody was going to get hurt by this ‘Mugabe like’ regime so Davis you just happened to be the most likely candidate. However the manner in which it was done to him as well as the NBC journos was totally disgraceful and smells of a dictatorial regime.

  4. John Nakamura
    November 18, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Justinvoragi@gmail. com From my ONE TOUCH PIXI

    PNGexposed Blog wrote:

    >Post : PNG’s media reeling from Government crackdown on dissent >URL : https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/pngs-media-reeling-from-government-crackdown-on-dissent/ >Posted : November 14, 2013 at 4:37 am >Author : pngexposed >Tags : government, media, media freedom, NBC, Ok Tedi, Papua New Guinea, Paraka scams, Paul Paraka, Peter O’Neill, PNGSDP >Categories : Corruption, Papua New Guinea > >Source: Radio New Zealand > >Papua New Guinea’s media are reeling from a crackdown by the Government as observers say media freedom is “non-existent”. > >Three senior journalists were recently demoted by the national broadcaster, and a media adviser of the Sustainable Development Programme was deported last week. > >As a major investigation into corruption from within the Government continues, the Prime Minister is leading a campaign to silence its critics. > >Alex Perrottet reports: > >In this year’s Reporters Without Borders media report, PNG has dropped six places in the rankings. This month, three editors and producers with decades of experience were told by NBC management they would be continuing in the archives section. It came after reports on the government take-over of the Ok Tedi mine, and on allegations the prime minister is implicated in the allegedly corrupt payments to the arrested lawyer Paul Paraka. The Chair of the Pacific Freedom Forum, Titi Gabi, says there has been strong pressure from the Government. > >> “TITI GABI: There is concern from individuals about what this means and where the industry might be heading because you know, managers have become the editors and it’s just quite silly, it’s quite dangerous.” > >Titi Gabi says the pressure is not just on the national broadcaster. > >> “TITI GABI: This particular TV company has got instructions from the top, saying you can’t run anything on us that’s negative because if you do, you know, we’ll force you to sell your shares, we won’t renew your licence. So what you have is managers interfering with news – how ridiculous is that?” > >The PNG media council has long been accused of inaction. A former editor of the Post Courier newspaper, Bob Howarth, says there’s a deafening silence, apart from social media sites and some brave journalists. > >> “BOB HOWARTH: It appears that the PNG Media Council has virtually collapsed and there are several looming threats to press freedom in terms of journalists being downgraded in the National Brodacasting Corporation.” > >“The managing director of NBC, Memafu Kapera, declined to speak, but issued a press release saying the veteran broadcasters breached editorial policy and failed to follow instructions. But

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