PNG radio announcer charged over bribe comments

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Pacific Media Watch in raising concern over the arrest and subsequent charging of a Port Moresby-based radio announcer. The IFJ has called for the journalist to be given right to representation and a fair investigation into the allegations. The 30-year-old broadcaster has been charged with “broadcasting misleading information” about a joint police operation between Australian Federal Police and Royal PNG Constabulary police. NCD Metropolitan police commander, Andy Bawa, alleged that the broadcaster made on-air jokes about bribing police officers in addition to his other comments about the operations. Mr Bawa said that such comments were harmful to regional and national operations and noted that he would remind media outlets to be more strict about their on-air content to avoid similar situations. The IFJ said: “This an extreme overreaction to what appears to be a radio broadcaster’s attempts at on-air humour. This should be clearly distinguished from the more serious claims of false or misleading information of which the announcer has been charged.” Previously there have been reports from Papua New Guinea of intimidation and assaults against journalists. Earlier this year, two EMTV journalists were manhandled and punched by police, reporting on allegations of police violence. The police took the journalists notes and demanding all evidence was deleted. They were released following demands from TV station management. The IFJ said: “We call for common sense to prevail in the allegations being levelled in this instance and that these extreme charges are dropped by the PNG police.”

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