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Published On:February 21, 2018
Posted by Staff Report

UN condemns violence against journalists in PNG, deputy Morobe governor apologises

The United Nations in Papua New Guinea is concerned by the alleged attacks on journalists in Lae, Morobe Province last Friday and called on authorities to investigate the matter.

“A free, uncensored, and unhindered media is the cornerstone of a democratic society, and we stand against violence against the media, in any form,” said UN resident co-ordinator Gianluca Rampolla.

“The media should be able to operate without fear or favour, and enjoy media freedom as a basic human right as enshrined in the Constitution of Papua New Guinea and the International Human Rights Conventions which PNG has ratified.”

“As an important enabler for civic participation and empowerment, the media plays a central role in advancing development and human rights.

“The attack on the journalists in Lae occurs three months before World Media Freedom Day. World Media Freedom day is annually observed on 3 May, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.”

Rampolla said the attack also has brought wider criticism both on social media and in the main stream media.

Since last week at the time of the incident, media personnel and witnesses took to Facebook and talked about the incident.

Most commented on the posts as unprofessional action taken by senior officers from the office of the governor while others shared the posts on groups and pages.

Outside media and watch dog organisations have also made phone calls to fellow journalist in Lae to get updates on the situation.

The action of the government officers have also been condemned by the Media Council of PNG which demanded that the governor apologies and provide clarification on the matter.

Journalist Frankiy Kapin has been applauded for reporting the assault to police resulting in the arrest of four men.

The four have been released on K300 (US$148) bail each and appeared before the Lae district court Wednesday for assault charges. They admitted their mistakes in front of the presiding magistrate Tera Dawai.

Dawai referred the matter to tomorrow, Friday, to allow for additional information to be sorted out before handing down a verdict on that day.

Meanwhile, the deputy Governor of Morobe Judas Nalau, on behalf of the government office in Morobe, has apologised to Lae-based Post-Courier senior reporter Frankiy Kapin for being attacked last Friday.

After the attack, Nalau held a press conference to clarify his stand on the matter and also to clear allegations of bribery.

“The reason for us being here today is because of allegations that are made against us and also to at least make it clear to the media and the people of Morobe that we have never bribed any media personnel against the government,” Nalau said.

He said he would like to take this time to apologise to Kapin who was doing his job and passed on his sincere apologies from the highest political office of Morobe to his family and colleagues and for what happened to him.

“We believe you have pursued this matter to court written on ink and appealed to the Governor from the highest office of Morobe,” he said.

Nalau said what happened last weekend does not reflect the status of the province and as the deputy governor, he is troubled.

He explained that they did not say they are here because Ginson Saonu is the governor, Saonu won the election and they respect that.

“We would like to once again apologise to the media fraternity in the province and remind you all that we are here because of allegations that were made against us.

“This behavior of bribing journalists has never been part of us, especially former governor Kelly Naru and I have nothing to do with this and the allegation is all a lie,” said Nalau.

He said he represents the people of Morobe and once again apologised to the journalist and his family.

He is also aware that Kapin is from another province but has come to Morobe to work.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

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