Wednesday, 27 June 2018

UNNECESSARY BASHING OF THE PAPUA NEW GUINEA MEDIA



BY RODERICK KANAMA
I am not privy to what transpired between the National Reporter in Madang and Hon. Bryan Krammer. What I know is what I’ve read from Hon. Bryan Krammer’s post on FB, and this is not much, except to say that I find the whole thing misguided.
Many of you on FB know I am quite vocal on issues of corruption and that I stand with Hon. Gary Juffa, MP, as Governor of Oro Province and as Leader of Peoples Movement for Change Party. What many of you don’t know is that I am also the Executive Officer for PNG Media Workers Association. This is a non-paid position which I have held since 2010. Thus I am placed in a somewhat privileged position to offer commentary on this issue. The mandate of PNGMWA is to serve the interest of those employed in media and media related vocations and the Association will release a press statement in this regard. However, this commentary I make is from a personal perspective.
I have, for a long time, well before Hon. Bryan Krammer became an MP, argued that media must be free of corruption. My view has never changed. You see, media is first and foremost, a public service performed, for reasons of efficiency, by the private sector. Now I can argue efficiency in many different perspectives including propaganda. Is propaganda corruption? In my opinion, it is if inducements are accepted which prompts proper reporting protocols to be deliberately ignored. This is part of the reason the Media Code of Ethics exists and is administered by the Media Council of PNG. Unfortunately, neither MCPNG nor PNGMWA have legislated powers to hold media personnel and entities to be accountable in this regard. Instead we rely on media personnel and entities to hold themselves out to high standards of integrity as may be demanded by their customers and clients.
Should privately owned commercial media entities promote propaganda? It is not proper and neither PNGMWA nor MCPNG condone it. But it is not against the law unless it encroaches on or invades privacy in which case it is a violation of a private right. That being the case, is it proper to make a public call for boycott on purchasing the daily newspapers? It may seem as not being illegal but my gut feeling is that if the matter goes to Court, the Court will rule in favour of the media entities and purely because as I said, there has been nothing to suggest that there was impropriety by the reporter or the newspaper, at least none that I’m aware of from the post by Hon. Bryan Krammer. If there is, then the Court will rely on that.
Having said that, I’m mindful of the manner in which DSIP/PSIP funds are applied. Although there is a guideline for the application of this grant, there is more or less a roving commission which allows application of funds on activities that are incidental to the core activity or project. this is a very important qualification when it comes to the attack on media as a whole. The feature article that the National Newspaper Reporter is said to have written comes to the fore here. Is there anything that was captured in that article factually incorrect? If there is, did she know it to be factually incorrect at the time the article went to paper? Did that piece of information afflict any stakeholder or party or even the provision of basic service in any way, shape or form? The burden of proof rests in this instance with Hon. Bryan Krammer and I have to say nothing I have read warrants a public call for a ban on purchasing the dailies.
My personal position is that if there is clear-cut evidence of misdemeanor, report the matter and have that person prosecuted. Merely grandstanding on social media and throwing mud on someone is sad because that person has commitments that are taken care of through their job with with the media, in this case with the daily newspapers.
My read of this whole situation is whether public funds should have been used to pay for a feature article on the newspaper. The Reporter did write the feature article and paid accordingly. But should she have been paid from public funds? If you zone in on the real issue, the persons to be questioning would be the former MP for Madang and his administration. If it is however a case of misreporting than of course the Reporter should be made to retract.
We cannot have everything our way. Now we are attacking the dailies for misreporting stories that affect us. We are forgetting that they own the paper and can decide what to report and what not to report. We alienate the media and when what we want reported is not reported, what do we do then? Do we attack the media again? Our fight must be for the right thing to be done.
I don’t see how the sale of papers would be seriously affected from this public call. Papers make bulk of their revenue from advertising. Besides, people buy papers for various reasons so they will continue to buy the papers. But based on what I have stated above, I do not think there is anything that warrants the bashing of the daily papers.
Just my thoughts

Monday, 25 June 2018

LAWLESSNESS THREATENS PEACEFUL MADANG



In just within 48 hours, Madang town would have witnessed another outbreak of violence among settlers and residents of the Newtown suburb. 

The son of a policeman who was alleged to have burnt houses of settlers at Balasiko junction was hospitalized with knife wounds after he assaulted an elderly woman from the settlement.

Police were called in on Sunday afternoon and quelled the situation from escalating. Early Monday morning the settlers were organizing a protest to the Jomba police station when Lae based Mobile Squad 13 were called in again to stop them.

At around the same time, another group of protesters who were allegedly threatened by the son of a Madang politician were also getting ready to show their frustration.

Lae based MS13 police later apprehended the suspect who was in possession of an unlicensed firearm and charged him with three counts under the Firearms Act and five counts of Summary Offences. 

The suspect assaulted and threatened the Madang Public Safety Police officers on the eve of Monday.

Sources on ground says Madang residents have lost respect and trust on their local police police officers and have depended heavily on MS13 to attend to their problems.

Madang's law and order problem has been escalating over the last five years. Petty crimes and home-brew production and consumption have been the main causes of violence.

While Papua New Guinea's security forces have been deployed only to the Highlands region, police manpower and presence is lacking in other centres in the country.

Madang needs a permanent mobile squad base and proper housing and police station facilities with additional manpower to counter the growing number of lawlessness in the township.

The threatening of police officers by civilians with unlicensed factory made guns leaves a lot to be questioned about the safety of the residents and the business community in Madang. Police manpower from Lae have been frequently called in to assist when violence strikes the township.

It's high time now the Police Minister and the Commissioner of police look at proactive measures to prevent lawlessness other than reacting to situations.

Political heads of Madang have to come together and counter-fund police operations in the township to ensure safety of the people of Madang is paramount in-order to attract good investment and growth of the province.

Lae Based MS13 members speaking to disgruntled members of the public stopping them from marching into town after they were threatened by the son of a Madang politician

Female Journalist to Sue MP For Defamation As PNG Opposition Declares War on Print Media





A female journalist in Papua New Guinea’s Madang Province wants to sue local MP Bryan Kramer for alleged defamation that she was paid by a former Member of Parliament using district funds.
On June 2nd 2018, Mr Kramer told a media conference that he discovered that District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) funds for Madang District were used to pay a certain female journalist in Madang.
Mr Kramer claimed that stories written by the female journalist were extremely biased and was questioned by the MP but she refused to respond.
“I have her on record previously saying that she never did but now since occupying office I’ve gone through the accounts and found out that payments were made to journalists”, says Kramer.

Communications Minister Sam Basil in response defended journalists.

“No one should be critical of journalists and their news media organisations for use of taxpayers’ money to bring out news on events and the plights of Papua New Guinea in remote rural areas of our country,” says Minister Basil.

“We all also need to understand those journalists are themselves taxpayers and so are their employers – news media organisations. They are also reporting on and for PNG citizens and constituents for the public and leaders to be aware.”

Kramer then responded in an article accusing journalists of writing misleading and biased reports.

“Wait so Basil is of the view that due to the limited funds available to paid journalists and profit driven news companies, it is acceptable to take the limited funds for the people (causing shortage of medical supplies, shortage of TFF funds) and give it to journalists who can write up misleading and bias reports about Members of Parliament and Ministers who paid them?

The National newspaper’s Madang correspondent Dorothy Mark wrote on her Facebook wall clarifying the attack by Kramer on her saying Kramer was infuriated by a story she wrote on septic issues at the Madang District office.

“My good friends and fellow journos, the past few weeks I have been heavily criticised by my Open MP, Bryan Kramer simply for doing a story of the Madang district office eviction of officers because of a septic problem.
After reading that story Kramer personally texted me and along that he accused me for getting paid by former MP Nixon Duban for doing his media.
Instead of addressing the district office septic problem he attacked me for getting paid by Duban.
I would say that is a very cheap revenge for a national MP like Kramer and huge damage done to tarnish my profession and made me look bad.
He wants to sue me for benefiting from DSIP. I AM NOT SCARED ONE BIT!!! I am looking forward to it.
INFACT I AM WELL PREPARED TO SUE KRAMER FOR DEFAMATION IN A HUMAN RIGHTS COURT.
I am in the process of seeking legal advice before doing that.
I sincerely apologise to my fellow journalists for tarnishing our career as claimed by Kramer. In time you will see the truth.
May I also remind you all that you can publish stories against your fellow colleagues but remember no one is a saint on earth. Check your reporters' hands if there are no dirts before you scribe.
Likewise confirm allegations and understand the nature around the allegations before publishing or else you'll get your news organisations into trouble.”

In the recent weeks Kramer has raised serious allegations against journalists and media organisations in the country.

On Sunday June 24th 2018 Kramer published a statement containing the text conversations between him and the female reporter.

He also called on citizens to stop buying the two daily newspapers in PNG accusing them of promoting corruption by publishing fake Govt news and ignoring articles on high-level corruption.

Using the power and influence of the people we need to fight corruption by not buying both the National and Post Courier that in my view promote corruption by publishing fake Govt news and ignoring articles on high-level corruption. Fake news that is intended to mislead the public of the real state of the economy and failures of a corrupt O'Neill Government.

It is beyond a question of doubt the articles published in both National and Post Courier are clearly biased, written by reporters who have a close personal association to Members of Parliament or their staff.

I am tired of corruption and I'm tired of the media who have lost their journalist integrity. With exception to a few self-respecting journalists, it appears in PNG we have a free media, free to be compromised so no need to threaten them.

I'm tired of them not asking the questions that need to be asked or at least confirming the reports by the O'Neill Government are in fact false.

Newspapers rely on company advertising so until they clean up their act I'm asking for your help to hold them to account by not buying the paper for three weeks and encourage your family and friends to do the same.

Further still if the company you work for advertises in either paper then tell them to pull their advising or at the least put the paper on notice that their misleading reports will lose them business.

80% of our people living in remote and rural parts of PNG are feeling the pain of corruption - so let’s help the media organisations feel the same pain in their bottom line.
If you are a Pastor/Father or a member of a Church or fellowship group tell your members not to buy newspapers.

I intend to take this issue on the street - it's a war they won't win and can't afford to lose. My advice to the management of both papers is start cleaning up your act before the people clean up your business.”