PNG press ban a colonial flashback

Saturday April 15, 2017 Written by Published in Regional

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – A ban on local media from covering press conferences held by Australia’s prime minister Malcolm Turnbull during his visit to Papua New Guinea has been described as an example of remnant attitudes leftover from colonial times.


Local journalists were excluded from attending a press conference when Turnbull visited a war memorial at Bomana and a joint press conference with his PNG counterpart, Peter O’Neill.

PNG media were told the opportunities were strictly for Australian media.

Four senior journalists from the Papua New Guinea national newspaper the Post Courier were also denied food during a breakfast event for members of the business community to hear the visiting prime minister, despite the paper paying about US$280 for them to attend.

A Post Courier journalist said she was disappointed to be told she could not attend press conferences called by Australia’s prime minister.

Told the opportunities were for Australian media only, Gorethy Kenneth was surprised to be asked to leave one press conference, and then barred from the later one.

Kenneth said the directive to exclude local journalists came from the Australian High Commission in PNG.

Pacific Freedom Forum chair Monica Miller said the treatment of local journalists was discriminatory.

“It smacks of colonial remnants and something I think that all journalists in the Pacific, including those of Australia, should speak out against,”  Miller said.

The office of Australia’s prime minister did not deny that local media was excluded from certain events.

The department said that often when the prime minister was travelling, he would hold doorstop opportunities for the Australian media to discuss domestic issues relevant to Australian news.

            - PNC/RNZI

Leave a comment