PACIFIC FREEDOM FOUNDATION
THERE HAS BEEN ANOTHER threat of assault against journalists in Papua New Guinea, the latest in a string of incidents that is causing concern about the freedom of journalists to operate.
Last Sunday, EMTV journalist Mick Kavera and camera operator Gesoko Adrian were on assignment at the Jacksons airport terminal to film the arrival of illegal immigrants being accompanied by members of an investigation task force.
According to Kavera, task force members spotted the media crew filming and approached them, berating them in Pidgin for "misreporting" their activities and telling them to await a formal statement.
Adrian was also told to delete all the footage shot or the camera would be broken and he would be bashed. Some time after he had deleted the footage, the task force members did an about turn, apologised and the EMTV crew was invited to resume filming and complete their assignment.
"We commend the EMTV media crew for stepping forward and breaking the silence and urge their management to support filing of a police complaint on this and future threats to crew safety on the field," said Pacific Freedom Foundation co-chair Titi Gabi of Papua New Guinea.
She said the apology should not prevent or undermine the rule of law. "An apology is welcome and should help as a mitigating factor in a police investigation, but more than anyone the task force members will understand that this alone should not rule any investigation out."
"What's important is that the general community and many other media workers get the point that it is criminal and illegal to walk up to journalists and any other law abiding citizen and tell them you will bash them up and break their cameras," she said.