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Buka Threat To Press Freedom Over Keke

Post-Courier editorial: Buka Threat To Press Freedom

PORT MORESBY (Post-Courier/Pacific Media Watch): The attack on our Buka bureau chief Gorethy Kenneth (see PMW item 4143) by elements claiming to be supporters of Solomon Islands rebel leader Harold Keke is strongly condemned.

It was a cowardly and criminal act by desperate men who do not want the truth reported about the actions of Keke and his supporters. This is an attack on press freedom in Papua New Guinea and the right of the people to know what thugs and criminals are doing to make life miserable for peace loving communities in the Solomons and Bougainville.

These men are enemies of peace. They have no moral values and no regard for the decency of human life.

Their actions must be seen for what they are ‹ criminal acts intended to intimidate and scare us from reporting the truth about what certain elements are doing on Bougainville in support of Keke¹s own reign of terror against the people of the Solomon Islands.

We have now closed our Buka bureau because of the serious threats against the life of our reporter. This young Bougainvillean woman has demonstrated remarkable courage and commitment in covering the peace process on Bougainville and the efforts being made by the people and leaders of Bougainville to rebuild their island after the 10-year crisis that cost the lives of more than 15,000 men, women and children.

Despite the closure of the office our commitment to supporting the Bougainville Peace Process remains unshaken. We will continue to cover Bougainville through every possible means and assure the leaders and people of Bougainville that we fully support all their endeavours to return lasting peace to their island.

We know that we are not the first to be threatened in this manner. The people and leaders of Bougainville have lost loved ones through the barrel of the gun and faced numerous threats and intimidation over the period of the crisis. Their resolve and commitment to lasting peace is the direct result of their worst experiences. +++niuswire


PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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