SCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country / Pacific Media Watch
LAE - One month after the incident, Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu has apologised for an assault on Lae-based Post-Courier journalist Frankiy Kapin.
Governor Saonu told the media that the staff member who assaulted Mr Kapin has been sacked and new staff have been appointed.
The governor received strong criticism after he delayed making a public statement to condemn the assault by staff member while the matter was in court.
This led to a month-long standoff between journalists and the governor’s office during which all media events by the Morobe provincial government were turned down.
“The staff member concerned has been terminated from his job as an administration officer as a result of the incident and for bringing the office of the Governor into disrepute,” he said.
“I am setting this precedent as a warning to all of my staff as well as staff within the Department of Morobe that I will not tolerate violence of any sort.”
Journalists from media organisations welcomed the governor’s statement.
Senior journalists said the stand-off began primarily because it was difficult to get official answers from the governor’s office on various issues, including an investigation into the spending of K44 million by the previous administration.
“Personally, I don’t want this stand-off to continue,” said NBC’s Gabriel Lahoc, responding to the governor’s statement. “It is detrimental to the development of the province and to the people. But we have to make a stand against violence.”
EMTV journalist Julie Badui-Owa, who was also threatened during the assault, said it was important that media integrity was protected.