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PNG: Post-Courier Surprised By Media Control

PNG: Post-Courier's Md Surprised By Proposal To Control Media

PORT MORESBY (RNZI Online/Pacific Media Watch): The managing director of Papua New Guinea¹s Post-Courier newspaper says he still doesn¹t know if a proposal to control foreign-owned media is government policy.

Bob Howarth says he was surprised at the comments by deputy prime minister Andrew Baing that he is considering passing a law to force foreign-owned media to sell their controlling interests to PNG shareholders.

Howarth says he is adopting a wait and see attitude after Baing made the statement at a dinner attended by most media chiefs.

"We were both gobsmacked, this came totally out of the blue. However, we are not running around panicking at present because we still have no confirmation that this is official government policy and the new deputy prime minister has only been in the job for a matter of days. And quite frankly, a number of government ministers have had a track record of saying that something is policy and 48 hours later the government says it's not policy."

The prime minister¹s office is yet to make a formal statement although the PNG Media Council says they have been informed by third parties in the office that it is not policy.

PNG¹s only TV station is wholly-owned by Kerry Packer while the Post-Courier is majority-owned by Rupert Murdoch and the National paper is owned by a Malaysian company, Rimbunan Hijau.



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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