Posts Tagged ‘media’

Post Courier wrong: Sakora NOT acquitted

June 8, 2016 2 comments

sakora NOT acquitted

The front page headline and story in the Post Courier today is completely misleading and untrue but, sadly, not untypical of the poor standard of media reporting in Papua New Guinea.

Justice Bernard Sakora has NOT been acquitted.

He is accused of corruptly receiving K100,000 from notorious lawyer Paul Paraka in return for issuing a highly unusual and completely questionable blanket injunction preventing implementation of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance or any media reporting.

sakora paraka order

Part of the order Sakora gave to Paul Paraka

The Commission of Inquiry exposed the theft of K780 million by corrupt lawyers and public officials. Paraka was identified as a major participant in the fraud and primary beneficiary.

Yesterday a magistrate throw out the charge against Sakora because of an alleged procedural error by the police.

The magistrate did NOT acquit Sakora.

To acquit someone means to free them from a criminal charge by a verdict of not guilty. It means the accused is absolved, cleared, exonerated, declared innocent or pronounced not guilty.

None of those terms can be applied to Bernard Sakora and his receipt of the K100,000 (which he does not deny).

The charge against Sakora has NOT been tested in court. He has NOT been found NOT GUILTY. He has NOT been acquitted.

Justice Sakora still needs to answer the questions of why did he received K100,000 from Paul Paraka and why did he grant such an unusual injunction?

The Post Courier should apologise to the people of Papua New Guinea!

EM TV news edited to remove corruption story embarrassing to the government

March 11, 2015 1 comment

Last Thursday, the 5th of March, EM TV featured on its primetime 6pm television news bulletin a story about the massive K780 million Finance Department fraud.

Thursday was the fifth anniversary of the tabling of a Commission of Inquiry report into the fraud.

The EMTV’s news bulletin highlighted the fact the Commission recommendations have never been acted on: none of the 58 people identified for prosecution have ever been arrested, charged or appeared in court; and none of the K780 million in public funds has ever been recovered. All of which is very embarrassing for a Prime Minister who, when he took power, promised us his government would be tough on corruption.

But very strangely when the EM TV news show was posted on-line on Friday, the Finance Department fraud story had been completely edited out!

The fact the on-line version of program has been edited is confirmed by the video’s running time. The EM TV evening news program is aired from 6pm to 7pm every night. Once the commercials have been removed, the actual bulletin runs for 45 or 46 minutes.

The online news bulletin’s for the 2nd of March, 3rd of March and 5th of March are all between 44 and 48 minutes in length. But, as can be seen below, the online bulletin for the 5th is just 17 minutes long!

What is going on at EM TV?

We all know that in February the government took control of EM TV with State-owned enterprise Telikom PNG buying Media Niugini from its previous Fijian owners, Fiji TV. Telikom also owns the FM100 radio station.

Is the government influincing our number one media broadcaster?

EM TV please explain!

Paga Hill Saga Continues – EMTV, Post-Courier, and Police aid ‘Corrupt’ ‘Foreign Speculator’

June 5, 2014 2 comments

How many times in the last year has EMTV or Post-Courier seen fit to devote coverage to an alleged discharge of firearms in a Port Moresby suburb, with no fatalities or injuries?

0 is the number.

Yet suddenly, both media outlets have seen fit to broadcast stories on tenuous allegations against Port Moresby based anthropologist, Joe Moses, who is leading a legal struggle against the Paga Hill Development Company. Paga Hill Development Company’s CEO is none other than Gummi Fridriksson – an Australian businessman who has been censured multiple times by PNG’s anti-corruption agencies.

Moses is the last barrier between a company, described by the Public Accounts Committee, as a ‘foreign speculator’, and the land at Paga Hill, which it allegedly obtained through ‘corrupt dealings’

All this comes several weeks before Moses is meant to appear in court to challenge the legitimacy of the company’s claim. A happy coincidence!

EMTV reports: ‘Police in the National Capital District are looking for a male adult, Joe Moses, a resident of the Paga Hill settlement, in relation to a firearms complaint. Complaints have been laid with police that Moses had on the night of May 28, discharged two shots from an unidentified firearm at a group of people on Paga Hill’.

While the headline in the Post-Courier reads ‘police hunt for firearm possessor’.

EMTV and the Post-Courier will argue, in their defence, they are simply publishing a press release issued by Senior Constable Gene Punai on Tuesday.

Correct. The RPNGC went to the unprecedented length of publishing a press release, announcing their manhunt for this humble university worker. Punai even claims Moses ‘escaped from police custody’. Not bad for an anthropologist.

All this comes just a month after the Paga Hill Development Company donated K20,000 to the RPNGC. Another one of those convenient coincidences.

But while they may be partially excused for publishing police press releases, their recent infomercials for Paga Hill Development Company are inexcusable. Disguised as ‘news’, these PR pieces have reported that Fridriksson and his company have relocated National Housing Corporation residents over the weekend from upper Paga to land purchased at 6-mile.  The Post-Courier’s Todagia Kelola, relying on police sources (again), reports the eviction was a ‘peaceful, orderly and successful relocation exercise’.

Two problems.

The land at 6-mile is customary land, and cannot be purchased.

Second, police and plain clothed thugs ransacked properties (corroborated by numerous eyewitness accounts), and threatened National Housing Corporation residents at upper Paga. Here are photos of the devastation – which the Post-Courier and EMTV have failed to publish:

Upper Paga Hill 2 June 2014 Photo 1 (1)

Upper Paga Hill 2 June 2014 Photo 1 (2)

Upper Paga Hill 2 June 2014 Photo 1 (3)

Upper Paga Hill 2 June 2014 Photo 1 (4)

While repeating tenuous allegations against Joe Moses, not one media outlet in PNG has reported on Fridriksson’s questionable background which has been documented in numerous reports issued by PNG’s anti-corruption agencies. For example:

  • In 1996 the national government paid Fridriksson K2.5 million for Destination Papua New Guinea, a book (yes K2.5 million for a book!) riddled with what Sean Dorney calls ‘appalling mistakes’. To secure payment, Dorney claims Fridriksson offered a Finance Department officer a cut of the payment.
  • The Auditor General alleges CCS Anvil – a company owned by Fridriksson and Paga Hill Development Company shareholder George Hallitt – wrongfully seized K1,966,677 from the sale of deceased PNG estates, when advising the Public Curators Office (CCS Anvil has acted as Paga Hill Development Company’s ‘project director’).
  • According to the Auditor General K4,872,375 in ‘unlawful’ payments were made to CCS Anvil by the Public Curators Office.
  • K79,500 in unlawful payments  – according to the Auditor General and Public Accounts Committee – were made by the East Sepik Provincial government made to CCS Anvil
  • K375,799 in unlawful payments were made by the Parliamentary Service to CCS Anvil (documented by the Public Accounts Committee)

As a result of his business ‘success’, Fridriksson now lives in a palatial property in QLD (below), which looms large over the smouldering wrecks left at Paga. Money it would appear is the ultimate arbiter of justice in PNG.


PNG’s media reeling from Government crackdown on dissent

November 14, 2013 4 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.

Subtle editing means The National is not giving the full picture

October 18, 2010 3 comments

Criticism of The National newspaper for its biased reporting and staunch defence of the logging industry is not new.

Everyone knows The National is owned by Malaysian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau who have a long history of illegal logging, corrupt deals and human rights abuses.

By last Monday we saw an interesting example of just how subtle their distortions can be.

On October 11, MP Belden Namah placed full page advertisements in both The National and the Post Courier newspapers. To the casual observer the text of both advertisements were the same, but in fact The National made two subtle changes to the text submitted by the MP.

First The National removed these words about controversial DEC Secretary, Wari Iamo “This is the same man who the Ombudsman Commission recommended should face expulsion from the public service for his involvement in illegal forestry allocations”

In fact the OC recommended Wari be removed for his involvement in illegal forestry allocations to RIMBUNAN HIJAU.

Not hard to see whose interests The National was trying to protect here!

Second, the National removed these words describing the thousands of unskilled Chinese workers flown in to Madang to work on the Ramu nickel mine “many of them convicts (yes criminals who have had the choice of either going to jail or coming to PNG)”.

Of course The National frequently publishes company propaganda from the Ramu mine as news stories and just two weeks ago ran an eight page supplement on the mine.

Rimbunan Hijau is also owned by Malaysian Chinese and ships 90% of the logs it takes from PNG to China.

Reputable news organizations always declare when they have a potential conflict of interest over a news story but The National never does – seeming to prefer to try and keep its manipulations strictly under cover.

Our newspapers should hang their heads in shame

October 15, 2010 3 comments

How can we tackle the widespread stealing from the public purse, the flagrant mismanagement of public resources and the failure of our leaders to do their jobs when the newspapers are too SCARED or too CORRUPT to even name an MP involved in a road crash?

Look at this SPINELESS piece of reporting from The National as an example

Drunk MP bashed up

A MEMBER of parliament was punched to the ground and kicked unconscious after he attempted to flee an accident scene in Port Moresby last Friday evening.
Eyewitnesses said the MP was drunk and was involved in a vehicle accident, and in a bid to flee, he was severely bashed up by members of the public.
The eyewitnesses said the MP, representing an electorate in Northern, was driving at top speed when he came out from a pokies parlour at the Gordon’s industrial area, where alcohol was served to patrons.
The MP was following a Toyota fifth element vehicle and as it slowed down at the Waigani tunnel to give way to oncoming traffic, the speeding MP slammed his vehicle into the back of the Toyota.
Realising he had caused an accident, the MP tried to escape by reversing his vehicle, but his path was blocked by other vehicles behind him.
He opened the door to escape on foot but was set upon by members of the public who had witnessed what had happened.
They punched him to the ground and kicked him until he was unconscious.
An eyewitness said the bystanders who attacked the MP did not realised that they were beating up a member of parliament.
“They thought he was just another drunk driver involved in an accident and was trying to run away,” the eyewitness said.
He said the incident happened around 7.30pm last Friday.
Several attempts to get comments from the MP were unsuccessful with no one answering his parliament office phone.
His mobile phone was also switched off.
Police said no official complaint against the MP had been filed, but they would look into it.
MPs convicted of drunk and disorderly behaviour can be punished for breaching the Leadership Code.
Drink driving has been blamed for a fatal accident the following day in Sogeri, which claimed the lives of two people, and left seven others injured.

Why hasn’t the National published the mans name? Don’t tell me it is because they are afraid of being sued. If the story is true they will win any law suit and anyway, if the press is intimidated by the threat of lawsuits whose interests are they serving – certainly not OUR interests.

The media all over the world is not intimidated by drunks and idiots so why are the newspapers in PNG so PATHETIC!