NOOSA - The eminent journalist Scott Waide has accused the disgraced EMTV network of failing to provide a proper news service to Papua New Guinea after it sacked its entire news team in February.
The journalists had taken a stand against politically-inspired censorship triggered by coverage of the fraudulent misdeeds of a well-connected government crony.
EMTV is indirectly owned by the Marape government and it wasn’t the first time its management had fired staff who had taken principled stands against censorship.
Waide, who was EMTV’s distinguished regional head of news in Lae, told the ABC that since the sackings provinces and regional areas in particular had been being starved of news and information.
“What it’s done is effectively cut off public access to information in all the provinces,” he said.
“The media is supposed to be a conduit between government and people, and that’s not happening anymore.”
The sacking of news editor Sincha Dimara and 24 journalists was one of the most cynical and reprehensible employment scandals ever seen in Papua New Guinea.
It has made EMTV a pariah network, incapable of fulfilling its responsibilities to the PNG people.
Waide said the sacked journalists have taken legal action to regain their jobs.
In the meantime they have established an alternative online news service through a registered company, Inside PNG, which has already accumulated an audience of more than 10,000.
You can link here free to Inside PNG, which will be covering the June national elections.
OVERNIGHT I was pointed in the direction of the Media Safety & Solidarity Fund by my colleague, the discerning SBS journalist Stefan Armbruster
The fund is an initiative of Australia’s Media, Entertainment and Artists Alliance (MEAA), of which Stefan is a federal councillor.
I joined MEAA in early 1972, when it was still called the Australian Journalists Association.
I’m proud to say I’ve belonged to no organisation longer over these 50 years, and nor am I likely to since the Labor Party fell out of contention several years ago because of its cowardly stand on asylum seekers.
The Media Safety & Solidarity Fund was established to help journalists and media personnel in the Asia-Pacific region through times of emergency, war and hardship.
Currently MEAA is working with the International Federation of Journalists to provide emergency financial support for Afghan women media workers and their families so they can find safe houses in Afghanistan, or be assisted to relocate to new countries.
Afghan media workers and their families are in dire peril following the Taliban’s overthrow of the national government in August last year.
At least seven journalists have been killed in this period and over 250 media outlets have been closed.
The Afghanistan National Journalists Union says two-thirds of all journalists and media workers have lost their jobs.
You can donate here to help women journalists and their families in Afghanistan as well as those forced to leave.