Thursday 1 December 2022

Prime Minister James Marape has urged the media in Papua New Guinea to exercise more responsibility when portraying the country’s development.

Prime Minister Marape said this in Parliament this week, while pointing out that the media must be held accountable for the content it carries and how these stories are written, and how they impact upon the development of the country.

The Prime Minister was responding to the Member for Karamui-Nomane Hon. Francis Alua who expressed concerns during Questions Without Notice, at graphic images of beheadings on the front page of a local newspaper recently and various other instances of what is seen as a lack of media ethics and editorial control.

“The media is a very powerful tool. The way they are plying their trade creates a very
bad perception about this government.

“Some people would say that the Constitution provides for the freedom of speech and expression. I understand, and as a lawyer myself, I know that the right to freedom of expression is a qualified right. It is not absolute.

“ The exercise of that right is subject to other rights provided for in the Constitution. If we do not address this issue, it has the potential to create more problems going forward.”

Prime Minister Marape said in reply: “The media in the country, while they have the freedom to write, print, sell and disseminate information to our country and the world, must also appreciate and take some responsibility.

“The right to freedom of expression is a qualified right.”

“While you continue painting negative image of our country, it does not help in the area where you are doing business.”

PM Marape said , “there must be accountability by media houses and journalists and the Government would look into this area closer in defamation penalties for both mainstream and social media where a lot of content was going out based on hearsay, lies and fake news and not facts and the truth.

“Going forward, we looking at some of these areas – media and journalism accountability so that the writer is writing the correct information to society and not fabricating it, not making inferences. We want to make sure that proper and correct information goes out to the public.

“To our two print media companies: have some sense of responsibility to the people. Run good stories.

We all live in one house called PNG. You have a responsibility to the country that you make your money from,” said the Prime Minister.

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