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PNG journalists work in fear says media freedom advocate

STAFF REPORTER | RNZ Pacific | Pacific Media Watch Titi Gabi

PORT MORESBY - A senior journalist in Papua New Guinea says there is no media freedom in the country and journalists are often working in fear.

Media freedom advocate Titi Gabi said local media had become a public relations entity for the powers that be.

Ms Gabi said World Press Freedom Day on Thursday was a reminder of the many issues that exist in PNG.

“There’s interference from outside influences right up to setting the news agenda to bribing journalists to threats to threats of court action against journalists,” she said.

“There is a lot of censorship, there is a lot of control. We no longer enjoy media freedom so today it is really sad times here in PNG.”

Papua New Guinea has dropped two places to 53 in the latest Reporters Without Borders 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

In Tonga, where the next two-yearly Pacific media summit is taking place next week, a prominent publisher says media freedom and access to information is the worst that he has seen.

Publisher Kalafi Moala of the Taimi Media Group said the media environment in Tonga was at a low.

He said the current government was trying to control channels of public information.

Mr Moala gave the move of senior journalists out of the state broadcaster’s newsroom as just one example of this.

He said the government also responded to criticism or probing questions by making statements to ridicule the media.

Last week, Tonga dropped two places to 51 in the media freedom rankings – two places ahead of Papua New Guinea.

Moala said it was not an accurate reflection of the country.

“The drop in the ranking of two is so small compared with what we as journalists on the ground here in Tonga are experiencing.

“This is the worst in 29 years of working as a journalist and publishing here in Tonga, the last three and a half years has been the worst that I have seen in Tonga.”

This article has been republished as part of the content sharing agreement between Radio New Zealand and the Auckland University of Technology Pacific Media Centre


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Max Phin

Very true. Our two main print media in the country are no longer the voice of the people rather the private adverts and billboards of our so-called leaders and their businessmen cronies.

And the written English vocab is so sub-standard I might add. Makes one wonder whether these journalists actually pass out of Universities.

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