Thursday 14 December, 2023
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Information & Communications Technology, Hon. Timothy Masiu, urged regional collaboration to combat the rising tide of misinformation and disinformation in the digital age. Addressing a seminar on “Transcending Disinformation” in Kuala Lumpur, Minister Masiu highlighted both the opportunities and challenges presented by PNG’s rapid digital transformation.
“PNG’s journey into the digital world is marked by both progress and pitfalls. While mobile broadband penetration has skyrocketed to 78% in just four years, the exponential flow of information has also paved the way for the spread of misinformation and disinformation,” Minister Masiu stated.
The PNG ICT Minister acknowledged this growing threat, stating, “The rapid flow of information in the digital age can easily be altered to become misinformation or disinformation.”
To tackle this challenge, Minister Masiu articulated that PNG has taken proactive steps.
Minister Masiu outlined the establishment of a government social media management desk, the removal of over 3,000 fake government accounts and fake news, and the development of a National Media Development Policy.
“The policy, currently in its final stages, aims to improve media quality and standards, fostering a more responsible and ethical media landscape.”
Masiu emphasized the crucial role of media literacy and ethical journalism in the fight against misinformation. “The media’s power in shaping societal narratives cannot be underestimated,” he declared. “In this digital era, the ethical responsibility of disseminating the truth becomes ever more crucial.”
Recognizing the limitations of national efforts alone, Minister Masiu called for regional collaboration, and applauded existing partnerships, such as the seminar co-hosted by the Asia Pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development (AIBD) and the European Union, as crucial steps in the right direction. “Building on such regional partnerships,” Masiu stated, “we can jointly empower Asia-Pacific nations to rise above the dangers of misinformation and disinformation.”
“As digital transformation continues to reshape societies, the need for responsible and ethical media practices has become more urgent than ever. PNG’s proactive approach and commitment to regional collaboration offer a valuable model for other nations facing similar challenges.”