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19 February 2018

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Frankiy Kapin was attacked over stories he had not even authored and not even published by the Post Courier.

EMTV Journalist, Julie Badui Owa, was threatened by the same mob for her series of stories about the unpaid Provincial Government Scholarships.

The media in Lae have since stood together despite pressure to settle out of court. A decision will be handed down on Monday.

George Burchett is currently serialising his father's book entitled Vietnam Will Win on Counterpunch. It makes fascinating reading and along with Philip Knightley's The First Casualty, it exposes the manipulation of the press, especially during war.
The treatment of Wilfred Burchett by the Menzies government reinforces the comments from the late Aneurin Bevan who described the Tory party in the UK as ...." Lower than vermin"

While I do not condone such acts of violence against our journalists and I strongly believe these attackers should be appropriately charged and jailed, I would like to point out the fact that the media industry in this country lacks that vibrant independence and respect that media in other countries wield.

And this I believe is due to the type of reports that are being fed out to the public in recent years.

There is no in-depth reporting or investigative reporting that truly gives the reader a clear and concise narrative of the story and its characters.

Some of the stories making the front-page recently are more fiction than fact and raise a lot more questions than answers for the reader.

Come on guys, you can do much better than that I believe.

Mainstream media in developed countries operate independently on their own strength - vehicles, choppers etc are all at the reporters' disposal.

The stories transmitted are fair, balanced and free from political influence. In fact, politicians, their supporters and huge multinational corporations fear and respect the media.

There are so many media outlets - radio, tv stations, newspapers of all descriptions - national, regional, provincial, weeklies etc - which make the media so powerful.

Here in PNG, the media is still weak and vulnerable to attacks.

Some media outlets have adopted a bad precedent in allowing their journalists to travel around with members of parliament with all expenses paid.

This is dangerous for press freedom in this country. It restricts the journalist to compile stories that would favour the member only.

The management of our news media organisations must be reminded that the independence and neutrality of media can be compromised if they cannot meet the costs of travel and accommodation for their journalists.

I don't know why Kapin was attacked by the six men in Lae. Nobody likes to attack people for nothing. But if Kapin was attacked for no reason at all - the culprits must be dealt with immediately.

And the Morobe Governor must apologise to the PNG media, Kapin's family and Kapin himself. The Morobe Provincial Government should also consider compensating him.

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