Reporters Without Borders condemns the beating that National Broadcasting Company radio reporter Mark Kayok received last week from several police officers in the capital, Port Moresby, after he intervened in an attack on a friend and identified himself as journalist.
“This is the second attack on a reporter by police officers since the start of the year,” Reporters Without Borders said. “On both occasions the policemen involved knew they were attacking a journalist. The recurrence of this kind of assault could have serious consequences in terms of media self-censorship.
“While hailing the communication and information minister’s rapid condemnation, we remind the government that failure to punish those responsible will be taken by the media and the public to mean the police are above the law.”
A court and police reporter, Kayok was assaulted near his office on the evening of 20 April but the attack was not reported until 23 April, when NBC included it in its morning news bulletin.
The incident began when a friend accompanying Kayok was attacked by several uniformed police officers who had been following them. Kayok interceded and identified himself as a NBC reporter. Accusing the media of reporting bad things about the police, they turned on Kayok, punching and kicking him repeatedly, breaking his nose and inflicting other, lesser injuries.
The PNG Media Workers Association reacted by voicing concern about the “unusually high number of threats and acts of intimidation.”
In a 9 March press release, Reporters Without Borders condemned the behaviour of the police officers who threatened and manhandled Post-Courier reporter Patrick Talu while he was covering a meeting in Port Moresby on 7 March between officials and opponents of a proposed pipeline.