Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

Media dependent on profits

Although the media enjoy a relatively benign legislative environment, their independence is clearly endangered. The last months of the government led by Peter O’Neill, a prime minister with dictatorial tendencies, were marked by many press freedom violations, including intimidation, direct threats, censorship, prosecutions and attempts to bribe journalists. The installation of an O’Neill rival, James Marape, as prime minister in May 2019 was seen as an encouraging development for the prospects of greater media independence. Journalists were disillusioned in April 2020 when the police minister called for two reporters to be fired for their “misleading” coverage of the Covid-19 crisis. In addition to political pressure, journalists continue to be dependent on the concerns of those who own their media. This is particularly so at the two main dailies, The Post Courier, owned by Australian media tycoon Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which is above all focused on commercial and financial concerns, and The National, owned by the Malaysian logging multinational Rimbunan Hijau, which doesn’t want its journalists to take too much interest in environmental issues. As a rule, the lack of funding and material resources for proper investigative journalism and reporting in the field has tended to encourage “copy-and-paste” journalism. So the efforts undertaken by the commercial TV channel EMTV News to practice and promote investigative reporting are encouraging. Social media are meanwhile developing rapidly but the advent of Facebook has led to the creation of many politically-affiliated accounts that focus on spreading disinformation and attacking independent journalists. Reporters continue to be prevented from covering the fate of asylum-seekers held in Australia’s migrant detention centres on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island and in the capital, Port Moresby.


47
in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index

Ranking

-1

46 in 2020

Global score

+0.95

23.93 in 2020

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
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