PORT MORESBY (PNG Post-Courier / Pacific Media Watch): A magazine publisher has called on the Papua New Guinean government to pass media ownership laws to prevent domination of the media by one or two large companies.
The PNG Post-Courier newspaper reported this week that Dixie Pombe, publisher of Business Melanesia magazine, had opposed a large mobile phone company, Digicel, in its bid to expand into the media.
According to Pombe, Digicel was trying to dominate both the mobile phone and media industries:
"It's not healthy, that’s why I am concerned. It may not be Digicel’s fault, the government authorities responsible should have been vigilant on this issue..
"As a monopoly they can contribute to influencing government formation and government decisions as PNG still relies heavily on the media to make decisions unlike developed countries where bulk of the population is educated enough to make informed decisions without being manipulated or influenced by the media.
The government needs to pass media ownership laws to safe guard PNG media industry where PNG people need to hold majority shareholdings instead of being 100 per cent foreign owned where the top executive jobs are reserved for their own foreigners and also profits are taken out of the country.”
Communications and Information Technology Minister Jimmy Miringtoro said he would look into the matter but Public Enterprise Minister Ben Micah said Digicel had already been granted a licence to operate.
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