ON THE eve of the new year – which is 2017 not 1984 – Papua New Guinea’s cumbersomely named ‘National Information and Communications Technology Authority’, NICTA – continued its surreptitious assault on the nation’s freedom of speech.
According to its own propaganda, NICTA is “taking steps towards addressing the gross misuse and abuse of social media in Papua New Guinea”.
While there are undoubtedly reckless cowboys using PNG’s social media, one would have thought that the existing body of law related to defamation, privacy and related issues might be sufficient to deal with the slanderers, recalcitrants and other low life that unfortunately frequent every aspect of human existence – including the internet.
But no, the social media apparently require special oppression.
NICTA chief executive officer, Charles (Punish ‘Em) Punaha says he’ss soon start a print (not social) media advertising campaign to outline the criminal offences itemised within the new ‘Cybercrime Code Act 2016’.
"Currently NICTA does not have any specific powers to order an ICT service provider to block off a website,” Punish ‘Em complained.
"This responsibility has to be given to the police department and other law enforcement agencies.
"NICTA will assist in the event that the aggrieved person or a victim of an allegation makes a formal complaint with the police.”
Punish ‘Em asserted that NICTA was receiving “numerous complaints” but did not reveal how many, where they were from or what they were about.
Part of what NICTA requires is for every internet service provider to appoint staff who will “monitor and screen everything that is appearing on the websites and undertake appropriate actions."
The ‘appropriate actions’ were not defined but presumably include taking censorship, bans and reporting to police and intelligence authorities.