New Draft Law Threatens Press Freedom on Papua New Guinea

The International Federation of Journalists has sent letters of protest

to Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare voicing its concern over the

proposed law, prosecuting all people who publicly criticise the

government.


Recommended action:



Send appeals to:

Sir Michael Somare

Prime Minister

Papua New Guinea

Via email: pmsoffice@pm.gov.pg


  • Condemning the proposed law.

  • Asking the prime minister to halt all legal action against Rod Mitchell and Mike Manning

  • Asking the Prime Minister to ensure press freedom in Papua New Guinea.


  • Please copy appeals to the IFJ Asia Office at ifj-asia@alliance.org.au


    For more information please contact Jacqui Park at the IFJ Asia Office.




    The IFJ have protested to the Prime Minister of Paua New Guinea, Sir

    Michael Somare in the in the following letter:


    6 May 2003


    Sir Michael Somare

    Prime Minister

    Papua New Guinea

    Via email: pmsoffice@pm.gov.pg


    Dear Sir,


    The International Federation of Journalists, the global organisation of

    journalists, representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is deeply

    concerned over the proposed new law to prosecute all persons, including

    journalists, who publicly criticise Papua New Guinea or its government.


    According to our information, a Parliamentary Committee in Papua New

    Guinea on 3 April 2003 announced the proposed new law. The new law if

    introduced would also punish those who make remarks allegedly "tarnishing the dignity or integrity of Parliament." Committee chairman

    Nick Kuman has said that the committee would amend existing laws to

    provide "effective and justifiable means to deter critics who

    persistently and knowingly publish damaging articles."


    The Parliamentary Committee has already summoned Australian businessman

    Rod Mitchell and Papua New Guinean economist Mike Manning due to remarks

    that were published in the Australian press that were critical of PNG.


    The IFJ feels that the proposed new law would violate the national

    constitution's freedom of expression and press freedom clauses.


    The IFJ calls on the Prime Minister to immediately halt all legal action

    taken against Manning and Mitchell and asks you to take all necessary

    action to ensure press freedom in PNG.


    Yours sincerely,


    Christopher Warren

    President, IFJ