Improved ranking challenges remain


Challenges remain for Papua New Guinea's media industry despite an improved ranking of 51 in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders.

The Media Council of Papua New Guinea (MCPNG) has welcomed the improved ranking from 55 in the 2016 index, but alerted the PNG Government to pleas for authorities to guarantee the safety of media personnel as they continue to face the threat of assault, harassment and intimidation in the course of gathering and reporting news.

The recent release of the 2017 World Press Freedom Index rankings comes as countries around the world prepare to celebrate World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

The MCPNG has in the first four months of this year been alerted to incidents of officials calling newsrooms to interfere in independent editorial processes, compelling journalists and news editors to self-censor news and consequently deny Papua New Guinean readers and viewers access to factual, balanced, impartial and objective reporting.

The council president Alexander Rheeney said:

"Last year had its challenges for media industry personnel and the first four months of this year appears to be no different to 2016 with news organisations alerting the MCPNG to two incidents of interference by those in authority. All news organisations have a mandate to provide the public with factual, balanced and objective reporting. These tenets of journalism are critical, especially in 2017 with Papua New Guineans preparing themselves to go to the polls next month to elect the country's next crop of leaders. Papua New Guineans need a free and independent press to be informed and educated on the benefits of transparent and accountable leadership."

Mr Rheeney said news organisations also had a responsibility to their readers and viewers to ensure that the conduct of their staff during the 2017 general election is in line with the MCPNG Code of Ethics and their news content is based on facts, is balanced, impartial and objective.

The MCPNG takes this opportunity to wish all media organisations and personnel in Port Moresby and around the nation happy World Press Freedom Day celebrations on Wednesday May 3 and all the best in your coverage of the 2017 general election.