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The Kramer censoring: Another attack on freedom of speech

Governor Gary Juffa

GARY JUFFA | Facebook | Edited

POPONDETTA - The Papua New Guinea government’s move to refer Bryan Kramer to the parliamentary privileges committee is nothing but another attack on freedom of free speech.

We politicians, rather than being hurt by what people say about us, should be hurt by deteriorating health, education, and law and order; and the loss of PNG jobs, businesses, forests and marine resources.

We should be hurt by the stealing by transnational criminal cartels and the worsening economic conditions that affect our people.

Criticism comes with the territory we occupy as politicians. We all get attacked for various reasons. When you put yourself in the public's eye you are agreeing to the reality of being criticised. We need to develop a thick skin and rise above it. That's leadership. To try to stifle and suppress criticism is the exact opposite of leadership – it is dictatorship.

When Bryan Kramer was alleged to have breached privilege for a Facebook post, I joined my opposition colleagues and left parliament in protest because it I subscribe to the philosophy stated by the English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall who once said, "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it”.

Let's debate and act on how our people's feelings are hurt and indeed their well-being is affected because they cannot access the services they deserve rather than be outraged because people have said something about us. Mere words.

I am aghast that we are moving rapidly towards full blown dictatorship where free speech and dissent is curtailed to satisfy the whims of those in charge. if Papua New Guineans are not alarmed and shocked by this, God help our country.

Already government efforts are hostile to mainstream media and manipulate directly or indirectly what mainstream media reports.

Already the so-called law and order committee prevents protests and public gatherings on the pretext of protecting property and lives.

And now this last bastion of freedom of speech enjoyed by our people is threatened with being dismantled.


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