Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A bad precedent



When leaders warn loud mouthed top media personnel in Papua New Guinea they go into their shells.

Rigged and weak would be their news and analyses.

Unless media personnel are ethical and are free from political influence media in PNG will be a weak fourth estate in PNG's democracy.

Talking about ethics of journalism there are 10 elements or guidelines.

Two authors Bill Kovack and Tom Rosenstiel list them as follows:

1. Journalism's first obligation is to the truth.

2. Its first loyalty is to the citizens.

3. Its essence is discipline of verification.

4. Its practioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.

5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power.

6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.

7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.

8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.

9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.

10. It’s the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Many people are questioning the independence and impartiality of media personnel who produce news and news analyses.

In an unprecedented criticism of the media, a Waigani National Court judge voiced his total disappointment.

 His was a newspaper's editorial that criticised his sentence of a known criminal and a prison escapee.

No leader has come out to put the issue to rest.

Till politicians warn judges to keep out of politics they will regret.

The media is not watching and exposing this encroachment by judges.

 Third arm of the government is interfering with the responsibility of the second arm.

On the issue at hand, the Public Prosecutor must come out clearly whether sentence of five years without custody is commensurate with a crime of armed robbery.

Any common criminal can ask for non-custodial sentence considering the gravity of their offence being less than armed robbery.

There are four objects of sentences: Punishment, protection of the society, justice to victims, and correction of criminal behaviour of the criminal.

It seems none of these objects are achieved by the non-custodial sentence meted out.

Tell us, media gurus, why the press in PNG has not warned the leaders about this bad sentence and subsequent political activism of the presiding judge?

No comments:

Post a Comment