PAULIUS KORINI, A SENIOR Papua New Guinea government official, has been called arrogant and ignorant after claiming at the Pacific media summit that it's not the media's role to challenge governments.
Mr Korini, deputy secretary of PNG's department of information and communications, told Radio Australia this week that rather than challenge governments the media should work in partnership with them.
Mr Korini called for more responsible reporting by journalists.
But Tongan delegate at the Fiji summit, Kalafi Moala, says he's spoken to other delegates who have seen the transcript of the interview, and they are as angry about it as he is.
“I think if this is the message that he was bringing to PINA it's a wrong message,” Mr Moala said.
“For him to spit it out and to tell media what to do in terms of their job and their objectives, whether they are to challenge government or not to challenge government, whether they should partner with government or not, that is really to me a streak of real arrogance.
“And not only arrogance and ignorance, [it] confirms the whispers that come out of Papua New Guinea concerning that particular government's attitude toward media.”
Mr Moala said Mr Korini’s statement was “more like an edict”.
“The people that have known about it, the statement, have kind of reacted toward it, they're saying my gosh, what do you mean? Do you mean that we're just to be a lap dog that crawls up to the laps of government and basically partners with government and be controlled by government?
“The objective and the reason for media existence, not only in the Pacific but anywhere, and one of our roles is to be able to be a tool or medium to speak truth to power, and that doesn't change.”