IFJ Urges Respect for Media Independence in PNG


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its partner the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) in urging both sides of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) current leadership clash to respect the independence of the media and national public broadcasting laws


According to a PFF report, Papua New Guinea’s ousted former Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare visited the office of the national broadcaster, NBC, late at night on Monday May 21 and demanded that they broadcast him delivering a public statement. He spoke on-air uninterrupted for approximately 15 minutes, before leaving the station.


Earlier the same day, three PNG Supreme Court judges had ruled that Somare was the country’s legitimate Prime Minister. However, the following day, journalists reported Somare and supporters being blocked at the gates of the Governor General's residence by Police officers supporting his political opponent and current Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill.  Somare’s group was demanding that he and his Cabinet be sworn in to Parliament.


"Access to the media is a crucial element of the democratic process. However, principles of fairness and independence require that access to airtime on national broadcasters by political leaders must be according to existing policies and regulations”, IFJ Asia-Pacific said.


“These policies exist to protect the independence of the media, as well as to guard politicians themselves against allegations of political interference in the media”.


“The IFJ urges Papua New Guinea’s journalists to perform their duties in line with their national Code of Ethics, and for the country’s political leaders to respect the obligations to independent and fair reporting under which journalists work”.


For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950


The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries


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