Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Julian King: Journalism PNG Style

Journalism PNG Style

by Julian King

What would you do if you were a journalist and you were conducting this interview? Five minutes into the interview a car drives up and five men get out of the car approach you and the person you are interviewing. They ask the man you are interviewing his name - when he responds - the five men are angry and start calling him names - they call him names because they take an opposite view to the one the person you are interviewing takes.

The five men then tell the person you are interviewing to get into the car. He refuses. They continue to abuse him finally picking him up and forcing him to get into the car. When they get the man in the car they continue to abuse him and they threaten his life. You, the journalist witness all this. It unfolds right in front of your eyes. You didn't have to go looking for the story - the story came to you. You think you got yourself quite a story don't you?

Not if you're in PNG and not if your name is Kevin Pamba. This unbelievable scenario played itself out last Tuesday in Madang Province, PNG. To make it even more unbelievable Mr. Pamba got in the vehicle and witnessed all the events that took place. Before we continue lets back up.

On the morning of November the first Simon Warr a landowner from the Rai Coast had scheduled a meeting with Kevin Pamba a journalist working with the National newspaper in PNG. Mr. Pamba is also a lecturer at Divine Word University (DWU).

Simon Warr wanted to talk to Mr. Pamba about his (Simon's) views of the proposed Ramu Nickel Mine. The previous Monday (31 October) Mr. Pamba had written a column that carried a pro mine bias. Simon Warr is a spokesperson for those landowners who are questioning the mine and its plan to dump 100 million tons of waste into their bay. Simon Warr was mentioned in the column. Mr. Pamba had painted Simon and his views in a less than flattering light. A time was agreed upon and at 9 o'clock in the morning Simon met Kevin Pamba at the DWU Library. The two meet as scheduled and five minutes into the interview the five men approach the "journalist" and Simon.

The story unfolds as described above. Simon is now in the vehicle with five hostile men and Kevin Pamba. They drive around Madang with the five men both physically and verbally abusing Mr. Warr. They eventually drive to the Madang headquarters of Highlands Pacific Ltd. - the proposed mine's developer who have recently entered into an agreement with the Chinese government sponsored China Metallurgical and Construction Corporation (MCC) to develop the mine.

When arriving at Highlands Pacific the men get out of the car with Simon. While at the Highlands Pacific HQ Simon is bashed, his life threatened and is told to retract his statements against the mine. Simon refused. During this time Kevin Pamba also contributed to Simon's ordeal by telling Simon he was really causing a lot of trouble by opposing the mine. After over an hour of more abuse, threats and bashing everyone got back into the car, including the journalist and headed back to Divine Word University where the interview began nearly two hour before. Simon got out of the car with Kevin Pamba. Steven Saud, the Chairman of the Coastal Pipeline Landowners Association accompanied them. Mr. Saud and a David Tigavu the chairperson from the Kurumbukari were the apparent insitgators in the ordeal with Mr. Tigavu threatening Simon's life on several occasions.

And how does Mr. Pamba write this up two days later? He takes the side of the kidnappers, those who threaten the life of a man - makes, the poorly written, article appear as if Simon was at fault and mentions that some of the landowners "roughed-up" Mr. Warr.

When contacted by an Australian based investigator on 3rd November, Pamba admitted he had witnessed the kidnap and assault but was vague on the details while HP manager Andrew Semi admitted that an incident had occurred at the HP office and that Mr Warr had been "released" after a number of hours detention.

So what is Mr. Pamba's story? Simon Warr's friends and relatives think Kevin set Simon up. It is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility. When trying to figure it all out one must take into consideration that Mr. Pamba works for the National newspaper. The National is owned by the notorious Malaysian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau. Most people in PNG know this and refer to the National as the Daily Log. Could Kevin just be carrying out orders from the bosses at the National?

Whatever the reason Kevin Pamba has shamed both himself and his profession. We who still believe in the integrity of the media everywhere are disheartened by this story. If this story was in coming from Australia rather than PNG we could expect swift action, but in PNG one never knows. Mr. Pamba has been reported to the PNG Media Council. The Media Council only acknowledged they received the complaint and would be looking into it. We'll see what they come up with.

In the mean time Kevin Pamba will still be teaching journalism to students at Divine Word University!


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news