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 vis-à-vis the executive.
Journalists nonetheless continue to be dependent on the concerns of those who own their media. This is particularly the case at the two main dailies, The Post Courier, owned by Australian media tycoon Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, 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. Thus, the efforts undertaken by the commercial TV channel EMTV News to practice and promote investigative reporting are encouraging.
Social media is developing rapidly but the advent of Facebook has led to the creation of many politically-affiliated accounts whose activity consists above all in spreading disinformation and attacking independent journalists. Journalists continue to be prevented from covering the fate of detainees in Australia’s refugee detention centres on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island and in the capital, Port Moresby.
38 in 2019
24.70 in 2019