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

 

Find

the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific