Pacific Media Watch

9 June 2016

PNG: Journalist assualted during UPNG gunfire

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MCPNG... in this instance, the police turned out to be the perpetrators and attack the very people they swore an oath to protect. Image: Loop PNG

PORT MORESBY (Loop PNG/ Pacific Media Watch): A journalist was kicked and punched by police officers when they opened fire on peaceful protests by students at the University of Papua New Guinea on Wednesday morning.

Loop PNG reports during the gunfire, National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) journalist, Rose Amos, ran to police for cover only to be punched by an armed policeman and kicked by another; falling and losing her balance.

Wearing her NBC-logo shirt she was then punched for the third time by an officer until a senior police officer intervened and took her into a car.

The policemen involved were members of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC).

Unacceptable attacks

President of the Media Council of Papua New Guinea, Alexander Rheeney, has since spoken out about the attack saying the criminal conduct of the three policemen is unacceptable.

“In such a situation it would have been natural for the journalist to seek the protection of the law. But sadly, in this instance, they turned out to be the perpetrators and attack the very people they swore an oath to protect,” Rheeney said in an interview with Loop PNG.

Rheeney also added the use of firearms on peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable and warrants an immediate investigation.

“If Papua New Guineans want to embark on peaceful demonstrations to air their grievances on issues of concern then why use firearms?”

Targeting journalists

The assaulting of Amos comes a week after a policeman who was not in uniform at the Boroko Police Station assaulted Imelda Wavik, a journalist from commercial TV station TVWAN.

“The increasing frequency in violence targeting journalists and mainly perpetrated by members of the constabulary does not augur well for the community. It is time for the Police Commissioner to address ill-discipline within the rank and file in the RPNGC and to arrest officers, whose shameful conduct continues to tarnish the image of the constabulary,” said Rheeney.

The MCPNG urges all the parties involved in the university student protests to exercise restraint and to refrain from using violence.

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