Man of Honour Drekore in finalists for international award

Government warns online media for airing 'false information'

Jimmy MiringtoroKEITH JACKSON

PAPUA New Guinea’s Communication Minister, Jimmy Miringtoro, has said that legal action must be taken against online news sources that the government considers have published false and misleading information.

Miringtoro targeted online news sites Loop PNG, EMTV and the ABC for mention, and told PNG Today that this reporting “costs millions of kina in lost national investment, income and employment.”

He said recent reports by the news organisations "were completely inaccurate but went viral through global news sources and social media.

"As our country prepares to host the most significant trade and investment forum in our history, we have these online news reporters sending information around the world that is false," he said.

"We have a situation where a single online reporter, usually foreign with little knowledge of our country, can press a button and wipe out tens of millions of kina in foreign investment and income.

"This is particularly concerning in the current global economic environment, foreign investment and trade markets are fragile and sensitive to sensational reporting."

Miringtoro said that “even worse than any monetary cost, the image of our people is further tarnished by the inaccuracy and incompetence of some online reporters.

In an extraordinary statement that tests the credulity of anyone taking a close interest in PNG affairs, Miringtoro said, "We have been changing the perception of our nation particularly over the past five years of our government.

“Positive interest in our country has been growing and people from Australia to Europe are seeing a different PNG,” he claimed.

"They are seeing a Papua New Guinea that is changing and developing and they are seeing a country that is open for business and investment.

"We will not tolerate the damage caused by reporters who report rumours without bothering to check the facts," Miringtoro warned.

Miringtoro is the latest in a succession of PNG government ministers who have been attempting to put a gloss on national affairs since the no confidence vote in prime minister Peter O’Neill two weeks ago.

While the vote did not succeed, it further undermined the credibility of a government that is becoming notorious for its corruption, incompetence and poor judgement.

Footnote: The "rumours" referred to by Mr Miringtoro concerned an incident at Alotau that was reported by news organisations, then officially claimed to be a hoax and turned out, in fact, to be an armed hold-up at the PNG Air offices in the Milne Bay capital. The journalists did check their facts; Miringtoro did not. Here's a link to the story of what actually happened  - KJ


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Daniel Kumbon

I urge the good minister to read the book ‘The Way of Public Opinion, Lincoln and the Power of the Press by Harold Holzer.

“Lincoln believed that ‘with public sentiment nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.’ Harold Holzer makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Lincoln’s leadership by showing us how deftly he managed his relations with the press of his day to move public opinion forward to preserve the Union and abolish slavery.” Doris Kearns Goodwin said in reviewing the book.

PNG Loop, EMTV and the ABC as well as the Post Courier and The National newspaper are the best mediums through which PNG’s press freedom and democracy is exercised by the masses and the Minister should not unfairly criticise them.

He should withdraw his words publicly – using those very mediums.

Martinez Wasuak

Social media online news gives some primary information that is accurate.

If you follow up with news about current issues you will be able to see whether information posted is true or not. Given this period where PNG politics is becoming very interesting, most of the time I like to read news on social media/online news than mainstream media.

In my opinion, media that has the possibility of being influenced by someone can be very contrasting than social media/ online news.

William Dunlop

Madam Guillotine is infinitely more efficient.

Corney Korokan Alone

Astute investors understand and know the power of media like no body else does.

Global corporations (the good and the bad ones like those who deny global warming, environment pollution and tax evasion) with visions for global dominance know the potent and malevolent power of media and its reverse very well.

Therefore, it's critical to understand and appreciate the beauty of democracy as well as the twin-edge sword that the media presents.

Exercising responsibility by governments and citizens alike is crucial in a liberalized world of economy and business.

Bernard Corden

"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past" - George Orwell, '1984'

Francis Nii

For politicians and government to argue that foreign investment in PNG is dependent on rosy media reports is a fallacy. Foreign investors don't need falsely and rosy portrayal of PNG in public media to make investment decisions.

Furthermore, most foreign investors believe in the importance of freedom of media and the vital role they play in keeping the public informed of what is happening in the country including unveiling bad and corrupt practices by politicians and government.

Freedom of media is an attribute of a vibrant democracy and O'Neill and his supporter like Miringtoro for goodness sake should stop from constantly crying foul every time there is a report which is not in their favour and accept the reality.

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