Pacific Media Watch

10 June 2016

PNG: O'Neill government blasts foreign news agencies for 'untrue stories'

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Some googled news headlines following the police shootings at UPNG.

PORT MORESBY (The National/Pacific Media Watch):  The Papua New Guinea government has termed as “intentionally reckless” reports by some international news organisations on Wednesday’s events in Port Moresby involving University of PNG students and police.

Foreign Affairs secretary William Dihm said the visa status of the foreign correspondent in Port Moresby would need to be reviewed because of it.

Dihm said: “At times like this, foreign media and foreign governments and organisations have an interest in what is happening in Papua New Guinea.

“Foreign media and some foreign governments we believe have reported on what is happening here from their foreign eyes and from their perspective.

“For instance, the [alleged] death of students – they were very quick to report that and not some aspects that the government was trying to do in a challenging time.

“Some of this reporting were intentionally reckless.”

He said people who had reported in such a manner should apologise to the nation and the government “or perhaps their visa status in this country may need to be looked at again”.

Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari said different stories on the incident had gone viral on social media.

He urged the media to be responsible and their reports needed to be based on facts.

Lupari said the negative reporting even caused a commercial flight from Australia to turn back on Wednesday.

“One of the international media in the country has broadcast live internationally students being shot dead by police. This was not true,” he said. 

“People were injured but no deaths. It damages the image and credibility of the country.”

Pacific Media Watch notes: There is still a lack of clarity about casualties. Port Moresby General Hospital officially reported eight people treated - four serious - from gunshot wounds on the day of. the shootings but no deaths. Other news media have reported at least 23 people injured while some reports say some students are missing.

Port Moresby Hospital statement


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Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators. (cc) Creative Commons