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Journalist Attacked in Papua New Guinea

October 30, 2012

Journalist Attacked in PNG

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its partner the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) in condemning the violent attack on a journalist in Papua New Guinea (PNG) on October 13.

According to reports received from the PFF, Michael Koma, a correspondent for PNG daily the Post-Courier, was viciously attacked on October 13, after his report inquiring into high-level local government appointments in the Highlands province of the country was published in the paper two days earlier.

According to the PFF, four men approached Koma while he was sitting outside a relative’s house in the Highlands district of Kundiawa, and after questioning him over the story, beat him until he was unconscious.

Koma was rushed to hospital, and has since recovered from the attack.

"The use of violence to silence and intimidate journalists is both deplorable and criminal and we commend Koma and the Post-Courier management for reporting this to the authorities," said PFF co-chair Titi Gabi.

“The culture of impunity over journalist bashings, threats and intimidation will only change when we stop accepting criminal attacks and abuse as part of the work we do," said Gabi.

A police investigation into the attack is reportedly underway.

Violence, intimidation and threats against media workers, particularly in PNG’s provincial areas, have been identified by the PNG Media Workers Association, as major obstacles to improved journalism in the country.

“Violence against journalists is unacceptable. The media must be able to report freely on events in the public interest without fear of reprisal”, said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.

“The IFJ joins the PFF in calling on the authorities of PNG to conduct a swift investigation into the attack, and ensure that the safety of media workers is guaranteed.”

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific

ENDS

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