Media ethics issue triggers heated debate
31 October 2011
When prominent journalist and blogger Malum Nalu began to write stories defending logging company Rimbunan Hijau (better known as RH), which also owns The National newspaper, without disclosing he was on its payroll, there was outrage in Papua New Guinea. Meanwhile, observations on Malum’s stance have placed PNG Attitude contributor Martyn Namorong at the epicentre of a fascinating national debate. (We did ask Malum to respond to the criticisms but received no reply) - KJ
MARTYN NAMORONG, whose blog is called the Namorong Report and who is a recent Crocodile Prize winner, has upset long time PNG journalist Malum Nalu with his article on Rimbunan Hijau and Nalu’s role in the continuing story in Pomio, East New Britain Province. Nalu is employed by The National newspaper which is owned by RH.
The Namorong Report called Nalu out on his trip to Pomio, the whole sad saga of RH’s behaviour and Nalu’s pitiful response to the PNGexposed blog.
What has caused me to take fingers to keyboard on this issue is something quite striking. And that is the response by Nalu and his supporters - several working for large-scale extractive industries of course and how that contrasts greatly with those who support Namorong.
Martyn Namorong sells buai in Port Moresby. Anyone who reads his blogs sees that is a bit strange when you read his analysis of major issues in PNG. He is an exceptional thinker and his blogs have constantly gotten me to think and think critically of our country and issues we face. I have never met Mr Namorong but would like to one day.
His blog on the ongoing crisis in Pomio, where RH’s behaviour has been terrible against our own citizens, where RH has lied about Greenpeace breaking custom laws, and where they are trying to make out that everyone loves logging in the area is typical for RH.
Remember local landowners in Pomio did the right thing. Instead of resorting to violence, they went to the Commission of Inquiry on Special Agricultural Business Leases, testified on their own behalf and returned home.
And when they got there RH sent in the thugs, dressed as police. It’s not the first time RH has done this, but this time, thanks to the social media - which Mr. Namorong pointed out - people are not remaining quiet.
Nalu’s pitiful report made serious allegations that Greenpeace had broken PNG Customs regulations by entering Pomio District. He also claimed Greenpeace had caused friction in the Pomio community when in fact the friction between landowners had been incited by RH and its landowner company “directors” who, in fact, arranged for supportive landowners to act as logging company security due to the confrontations between Gilford’s (an RH subsidiary) Malaysian staff and landowners opposing the logging.
Nalu, who began his sorry defence by trying to make himself a hero saying he risked his life by going out to Pomio, tried - and failed - to make fun of Namorong. He responded by pretending to laugh - a sure sign Namorong got to him with his analysis.
He said Namorong was a buai seller turned blogger and suggested he go back to selling buai. In other words Mr Namorong, you nailed him and upset him. Now Nalu supporters have jumped on the bandwagon calling Namorong lowlife, scum, questioning his sexual preference and laughing amongst themselves.
However those that were supporting Namorong’s right to report or supporting what Namorong had to say never got to that low level of name calling and trying to down Nalu. They stuck to the issue at hand.
As I was watching this I then realised there is a change going on in PNG - and its a big one - and it is reflected in the response of Nalu and friends to Namorong. There is a new generation of Papua New Guineans and they are thinkers - they are not small boys with egos like Nalu displayed in his defense nor are they like those that supported Nalu by name calling.
The new breed think, analyse and try to engage in constructive dialogue. They give a damn about PNG and they want to do something about it and they will. And when they see what happened in Pomio when, once again, RH comes in plays the bully it has always been they a re not going to shut up. They are seeing it, calling it out and they are moving towards action.
While the name calling egotists ramble on the new generation isn’t going to put up with it any more. Things are going to change. At a price for sure, but it’s coming. Thanks Martyn - your blog analysis of the situation in Pomio has brought it all home. And I am feeling good about my country again.