PNG Slaps Temporary Ban on Foreign Journalists
PNG Slaps Temporary Ban on Foreign Journalists Over Manus Asylum Seekers Plan
By Quintina Naime and the Pacific Media Centre news desk
PORT MORESBY (Pacific Scoop / Pacific Media Watch): Papua New Guinea’s government has placed a temporary ban on all foreign media from entering the country to cover issues around Australia’s plans for offshore processing of asylum seekers in Manus province.
PNG’s Director-General of Immigration Mataio Rabura confirmed today he had issued instructions to all PNG’s overseas missions not to facilitate visas for journalists planning to come to the country to cover the Manus story.
Rabura said PNG’s cabinet had approved the reopening of the Manus facility yesterday, however negotiations and administrative arrangements were still being made.
He said until negotiations and arrangements were settled between Australia, Cook Islands and PNG, journalists would not enter the country to cover the Manus story.
Rabura said the ban was expected to be for a month only.
The issue is expected to be raised at the Pacific Islands Forum in the Cook Islands next week.
Radio NZ International reported PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato had defended the ban on foreign journalists.
Pato said a temporary ban on foreign journalists was necessary while the country sorted through internal issues related to the re-opening of the centre.
“There’s no need for the access. PNG is a culture where we discuss, negotiate and compromise,” Pato said.
“So we don’t want any misreporting, as a consequence of which issues could be misinterpreted by our own people as well as by the outside world.
“And to work out those issues, we’ll do it ourselves first and then – when the time is right – everyone will be invited to come and see what we’ve achieved.”