In what was quite a constructive and concise consultation of the draft National Media Policy, the Papua New Guinea Media Council have made their stance clear that members are not endorsing this draft policy in its current form, based on grounds of infringement of the expression of speech among others.
Department of Information Communications & Technology, through Secretary Steven Matainaho says the government has no intention of regulating the media.
He ardently promised that this draft policy is not at all targeted at regulating what News Media and Journalists, but “for the growth of the sector in the country”.
PNGMC President, Neville Choi argued that the country does not need to search far to find an example of what government intervention in the media can sometimes do to jeopardize the democracy of a nation due to undue influence.
He referenced this to the experience faced by our media counterparts in Fiji when their government pushed to control and vet information to the public.
“Our friends and colleagues in Fiji have had to operate under extreme intimidation and persecution.”
“Simply because of their Government’s push to control the national narrative, skew to government propaganda.”
Choi added that these are acknowledgements that are real and have placed the level of independence of the media within the region at drastic stages.
He added, “The PNG media has always remained self-regulating and shared facts on why the media fraternity in the Country must remain that way.”
“Self-regulation is a pledge by quality conscious media professionals to maintain a dialogue with the public.”
“This maintains the free and uninterrupted flow of information to the public and for the public to engage with the media to establish complaint mechanisms.”
It’s true that every media house in the nation has complaints mechanism.
He further stated that “If the Government and Department is serious about protecting the rights of Journalists, they must ensure that this policy, the right to self-regulate & be free from government influence, be prescribed in all foundations and eventually reach through an exhaustive consultation period.”