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PNG: Academic Praises Local Reporters Bravery

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PORT MORESBY (PNG Post-Courier/Pacific Media Watch): Papua New Guinea journalists don't get much recognition for the bravery they show in the line of duty, the Post-Courier reports.

And the tough environment due to lack of capacity in institutions to protect them often result in constraints on information that "borders on self-censorship".

These sentiments were expressed independently by South Pacific Post Ltd managing director Bob Howarth and visiting Murdoch University senior lecturer Dr Stephen Tanner yesterday in Port Moresby.

The two men said this following reports of harassment of journalists, including guns being pointed to the head —three times in the case of Post-Courier journalist Gorethy Kenneth— and the lack of protection from relevant institutions like police.

The comments and reports came out during the one-week post-election workshop hosted by the PNG Media Council with sponsorship from the Centre for International Journalism based at the University of Queensland.

Fifteen journalists from radio stations NBC, PNGFM, FM100 and the National and Post-Courier had reported their experiences in covering elections.

Some of them had decided to hold back information because it would have endangered their lives and others had swum across flooded rivers and had defied armed gunmen who tried to seize their cameras.

"I have worked as a journalist in London, Hong Kong, East Timor and Australia and I don't think that PNG journalists get enough recognition for the bravery they show," said Howarth.



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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