Trespassing between life and death
Asylum seeker wins cartooning award from Manus camp

On reflection, that new cybercrime act is meant to intimidate


SOME 10 days ago, I wrote a piece following expressions of concern in Papua New Guinea that new cybersecurity legislation would be used to crack down on freedom of speech.

Political commentator Martyn Namorong said he would shut down his Namorong Report blog to avoid breaching the new Act and Transparency International chair Lawrence Stephens said he was worried the Act was “the start of a slippery slope to wider censorship”.

My remarks in response basically argued “let’s see how the new laws are applied, then form a judgement.”

But, having now read the long list of possible wrongdoings covered and seen the penalties that could be imposed, I believe Namorong and Stephens have valid concerns.

I’m sure most of us would have no problem in the authorities cracking down on electronic fraud, child pornography, cyber extortion, identity theft and the like.

But 25 years gaol for ‘defamatory publication’ seems just a little over the top.

This is especially so given that PNG already has a Defamation Act that states “where an offender knows the defamatory matter to be false, he is liable to a fine not exceeding K1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.”

I know of only one social media defamation case brought in PNG. This was by prime minister Peter O’Neill against Noel Anjo Kolao and Sonja Barry Ramoi.

Justice Kandakasi handed down a decision ordering Anjo and Ramoi to pay the Prime Minister’s costs of of K1,500.

Pales into insignificance does that judgement when compared with the new law’s threat of a 25-year term at Bomana – more than for most cases of murder.

On reflection, then, I must conclude that the defamation component of the new cybercrime legislation has been put there deliberately to intimidate and to stifle criticism and dissent.

Martyn Namorong and Lawrence Stephens are on to something.


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Lindsay F Bond

Without knowing the "rules to address student's issues (sic)" of UPNG, I venture a comment that firstly, support might be expressed for those of UPNG students, in duty as a leadership, who were in fact only carrying out requirement of the rank and file of the organisation.

Secondly, there may be support for the notion that treatment as described in The National, being imposed on a few (leadership team), seems unjust and if reasonable review is not forthcoming, might yet warrant test in legal process.

Now where can one see an available version of those "rules to address student's issues".

Lindsay F Bond

fRight sWing cLaw?

Michael Dom

PNG parliamentarians remind me of some kids I knew in primary school.

When the bigger boys were up to some mischief and were witnessed by the rest of the class they'd shoosh the smaller boys and girls and threaten them, "oi yupla pasim maus, noken tok wanpela samting long tisa, nogat abinun bai yupla karai long mama blong yupla".

Yeah, what a bunch of jokers and those wizards who defend them at it are practitioners of the dark arts - disinformation and plain old lying arse dogs.

Infantile law makers. Inveterate law breakers. Insidious law fakers.

Bernard Corden

Sapos yu daunim naim bilong mi, mi wantim plenti compensashun, tupela piks , tripela moruk na sikspela meri .
Yu no compensatim mi, mi poisonim yu Begasin lain na kilim yu dai
This seems much less complicated than criminal or civil action through the law courts.

Bernard Corden

This cybersecurity legislation violates freedom of expression and the criminalization of libel is inconsistent with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.

It appears this law is modelled on the Philippines Cybercrime Prevention Act 2012 and five petitions have been lodged with the Philippine Supreme Court. The petitions claim it is unconstitutional and infringes on freedom of expression, due process, equal protection and privacy of communication.

PM O'Neill is obviously an acolyte of Rodrigo Duterte.

Corney Korokan Alone

Conjecture and hyper paranoia needs a clear marker.

National security and business confidence are also critical in a democracy.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Quite a few economists in Australia are saying the government should be borrowing to fund major infrastructure in Australia while interest rates are so low.

Yet PNG seems to have done this and it has gotten them into strife.

I suppose in their case the money has been spent on buying up mining shares and not on infrastructure so it's a bit different. And a large component of the loans seem unaccounted for.

I have trouble managing our household budget, let alone understanding economics but something really wrong seems to be going on here.

Is it any wonder then that they have become hyper-sensitive to criticism.

`Robin Lillicrapp

PM O'Neill must also have thought Namorong and Stephens were on to something for such a draconian measure to be applied.
The approaching recession only spells troubled times for PNG and global players in general.
Defensive moves are to be expected.

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