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Posts Tagged ‘NBC’

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.

Watchdog investigates as Bertha Somare orders Parliament off the airwaves

December 16, 2011 8 comments

Has Bertha Somare has driven another nail into her fathers political coffin?

As Grand Thief Michael Somare stumbles through a political mine field desperately trying to cling to power, his daughter Bertha Somare is doing an excellent job in fueling her beloved father’s political demise.

Bertha has helped build a Mugabe like persona for her father

A complaint of political interference originating from Papua New Guinea  has reached the ears of the Paris based world press freedom watchdog, Reporters Sans Frontiers.

The complaint claims that the Grand Thief’s daughter, Bertha, ordered PNG’s  national broadcaster, the NBC to cut off its live television feed during Wednesday’s parliamentary session when corruption allegations against Somare were being made.

Reporters at Parliament were told that  the NBC’s Managing Director had issued the order. He later denied it but  said that NBC didn’t have permission to film even though allowances were made earlier by parliament to broadcast grievance debate.  It is also claimed NBC journalists have been threatened about reporting these corruption claims.

Bertha, who works as her father’s media consultant, has had her share of controversy. Earlier this year, it was revealed  that she was among several others who spent  millions in taxpayer money  on allowances and other expenses when Michael Somare was in the Raffles hotel in Singapore for heart surgery.  Bertha’s expenses  alone amounted to over 100 thousand kina.

She has also  had a long history of battling the  PNG press. She keeps the them at a distance, treats them with disdain and has helped to nurture the distrust that  PNG journalists  feel towards  Michael Somare.

This most recent complaint, will perhaps be the highlight of her career, when she reminisces, many years from now, about how she built  for her father a Mugabe-like persona who gagged  the NBC – the voice of Papua New Guinea.