News boss wants police who assaulted journalists punished
In lavishing funds on PNG, here’s what is really needed

Uproar over Maserati TV item leads to suspension of top journalist

Reinstate Scott WaideKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - In the weeks before the recent APEC meeting in Port Moresby, the eminent Papua New Guinean journalist, Scott Waide – assisted by his listeners and viewers throughout PNG, gathered first-hand evidence that the health ministry had been lying about the availability of drugs and medical equipment across the country.

It wasn’t the first time that EMTV’s senior reporter had identified and related factual stories that the PNG government found embarrassing, but this one – implicating powerful and controversial health minister Dr Puka Temu - apparently seriously stung the government. You can read the story here.

But on Saturday 17 November, in an EMTV news bulletin, another story about the PNG Maserati scandal  was broadcast slap bang in the middle of the APEC leaders' summit, triggering the suspension of Scott Waide, a senior figure at the broadcaster.

The debacle of 40 luxury Maseratis imported for APEC had been hot news in PNG and globally for two weeks at great cost to the PNG government's credibility.

But the broadcast of footage from New Zealand that Saturday night proved a bridge too far for tender egos.

In the TV story prime minister Jacinta Ardern was quoted as saying she would not be travelling in a Maserati but in a Toyota Highlander. It came at a sensitive point and proved to be the trigger that saw Waide sidelined.

The story also said there were "serious questions raised about whether PNG is actually capable of pulling this summit off".

In Auckland this morning, Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie said he understood the item objected to by the PNG government was the NZ Newshub item about the Maseratis controversy that was rebroadcast by EMTV News on 17 November.

Prof Robie described the action of suspending Waide as “shameful and a blow to media independence and freedom of information in Papua New Guinea”.

He said it was clear to anybody monitoring PNG affairs and issues that Scott Waide was one of the country’s outstanding journalists with a great deal of courage and integrity, and an example to all reporters in the Pacific.

Social media in PNG and beyond has today also been expressing outrage at what had happened to the popular and highly regarded journalist.

The PNG government's sensitivity to the story came against a background of it experiencing humiliating coverage of  its preparations for APEC, which it hoped would be a triumph but had itself seriously tarnished by a mindless expenditure of as much as a billion kina.

The government had also watched the forum go off the rails as China and the US hijacked it as a platform for their own big power rivalry.

Commentator on PNG affairs Martyn Namorong told me that “EMTV management are supportive of Scott but are under political pressure.” The PNG government controls EMTV through Telikom PNG, which is state-owned.

In a message to its staff, EMTV has said it is addressing the Waide matter as being one of “the utmost importance and priority".

EMTV has emphasised that he has been suspended and not dismissed and it has warned its staff not to make “any comments or speculation to anyone outside EMTV, or on social media”.

EMTV and its masters should understand - bur obviously don't - that to punish a journalist for honest, straightforward and ethical investigative reporting is unacceptable whatever form it takes.


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Bernard Corden

The AFP could even get out of the yacht clubs in Mosbi and Lae:

Bernard Corden

Is there anybody in Queensland state or local government doing any due diligence on the happy gardener?

Will Self

And so it begins....

Scott bringing PNG into disrepute? Surely that is the job of the government.

Arthur Williams

'Government humiliated by Papua New Guinea’s abuse of aid' - press release from the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union (Wednesday, 21 November 2018):

The folly of giving taxpayer money to the Papua New Guinean government has been made clear, as soldiers have stormed the country’s Parliament to protest unpaid allowances.

“The New Zealand Government, and by association New Zealand taxpayers, have been made to look like fools by a wasteful and corrupt foreign government,” says New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke.

“Kiwi taxpayers forked out $15 million specifically to help Papua New Guinea’s government pay for security at APEC. Instead, $7 million was blown on a fleet of Maseratis and Bentleys for politicians, while the wages of security staff have gone unpaid.”

“The Papua New Guinean government has demonstrated that it simply cannot be trusted with our money. Winston Peters needs to prove he’s learned from this debacle by cutting off further funds – including the millions announced in extra aid over the weekend. Any further assistance to the country should be conducted purely through trusted non-government organisations.”'

This is a press release from an angry NZ Taxpayers Union. Perhaps Oh'Neill will cut off ties with NZ. But first tell us who in PNG arranged the Masta-Rati deal through the Sri Lanka garage. Letting us know who got a big commission for arranging it.

Also why as a quid pro quo he didn't offer it to Boroko Motors who kindly loaned buses to APEC.

Lindsay F Bond

Gavman PNG
Starve PNG teachers of hard-earned wages, but lose also trust
Starve PNG medics of true drug options, but lose also hearts
Starve PNG public of fact true reports, but lose by suspects
Stave off responses but lose credibility, risking democracy.

Ross Wilkinson

Unfortunately this is an all too common story around the world in despotic style governments who don't want their malpractices exposed.

Whilst it may punish the journalist and silence the immediate story it doesn't alter the facts.

What part of the adage, "Don't shoot the messenger," do they not understand?

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