Tuesday, April 03, 2012

International Federation of Journalists concerned by PNG government official’s comments

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its associate the Pacific Freedom Forum in expressing its disappointment at comments made by a government information adviser attending the Pacific Media Summit in Suva that it is not the job of journalists to challenge government. The Deputy Secretary of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Department of Communications and Information, Paulius Korni, initiated a heated discussion among regional journalists in an Anti-Corruption workshop with his claims that media controls and regulation would help the media industry achieve balance in reporting.
Korni - a former mainstream broadcast journalist, now a senior information adviser to thePacific's largest developing country - told other participants who disagreed with his statement that he agreed with some of their views. Just hours later, he told Radio Australia journalist Bruce Hill twice in the same interview that it's not the job of PNG's journalists to challenge government, and that the media should work in partnership with governments and be more responsible in their reporting.
“The IFJ strongly challenges Deputy Secretary Korni's statement that holding governments accountable is not the role of journalists”, IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
“While journalists must hold themselves to the highest standards of accountability and ethics, this should not preclude them challenging governments when necessary. In fact, the media plays an essential role in providing a voice for the community, by ensuring that governments operate in line with principles of democracy, transparency and good governance.”
The IFJ urges the Government of PNG to publicly refute the statements made by Deputy Secretary Korni, and reaffirm its commitment to press freedom and media rights.

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