The International Federation of Journalists
(IFJ) joins its partner the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) in expressing concern
regarding the reports of interference with media reporting by electoral
officers in two provinces of Papua New Guinea (PNG).
In a report first published by the PNG Media
Workers association, it is alleged that in two separate incidents journalists
at polling centres in PNG’s Western Highlands and Morobe provinces were impeded
in reporting on election results by returning officers.
On Monday 9th July, the returning officer for
the Huon/Gulf electorate in Morobe demanded payment for the release of
information on electoral results and verbally abused a reporter from the
country’s national broadcaster, NBC.Two days later, the returning officer
overseeing the counting for the Hagen Open polls in the Western Highlands
banned media from reporting the results of the polls.
“Access to reliable and impartial information
is a prerequisite for fair and open elections”, said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director
“Interference with reporting of polling
results denies the public’s right to know, and is a blow against press freedom
and freedom of expression.
IFJ urges the full investigation of these
incidents, and urges PNG’s electoral officers to respect the role of the media
in the democratic process”.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
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