EXAMINE PRIVATE LIVES OF LEADERS, NEWS MEDIA URGED

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By Annette Sete Liklik Diwai

MADANG, Papua New Guinea (October 18, 2001 -PINA Nius Online)---Journalists have been urged to report on the private lives of public office holders, especially politicians.

Papua New Guinea's Chief Ombudsman, Ila Geno, made the call at the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) convention at Madang in northern Papua New Guinea.

Commenting on Mr. Geno's remarks, PINA president William Parkinson said: "These will certainly create shock waves throughout the Pacific."

Mr. Geno told radio, TV, print and online media executives and journalists from throughout the region: "Leaders are leaders 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

"What they do during working hours is a public matter. What they do after hours is also a public matter.

"The conduct in private will affect the fact that they are leaders in one way or the other."

Mr. Geno questioned whether the culture of respect for leaders is contributing to moral decay in society.

He said some politicians are quick to criticize the news media but he added: "I'm sure many would not want their dirty laundry hung out in the sun for fear of what their constituents might discover."

Mr. Geno said that Papua New Guinea's leadership code requires that leaders conduct themselves in such a way that they do not demean their office.

He invited mothers and children to come forward if they are aggrieved by the conduct of a leader. He said the Ombudsman Commission would investigate.

Mr. Geno's call for more media scrutiny of private lives of leaders got quick support from leading news media executives.

PNG Media Council president and PNG FM general manager Peter Aitsi said: "Perhaps we should really look at the value of those leaders and their actions rather than just respecting them because of our culture."

Papua New Guinea's The National newspaper editor-in-chief Yehiura Hriehwazi said the news media should be proactive promoting good conduct by leaders.

The PINA convention, being held at the Madang Resort Hotel, has drawn participants from throughout the region. It has the theme, The Media and the Pacific Child.

 

MEDIA CAN HELP STOP PACIFIC WARS, SAYS BOUGAINVILLE MOTHER

By Miriam Mantu Liklik Diwai

MADANG, Papua New Guinea (October 18, 2001 -PINA Nius Online)--- A Bougainville mother has told regional news media leaders that they could help prevent wars in the Pacific Islands.

Vice President of the Bougainville Children's Fund Susan Akoitai told the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) convention of the nightmare of surviving in the jungle during the conflict.

She told radio, TV, print and online news media representatives at the Madang Resort Hotel in northern Papua New Guinea that they could foster a culture of peace.

Relating her experiences during the 10-year conflict, she said it was the children who were most affected.

She said: "Schools were closed due to fighting. Some schools were burned down and people left their villages and went to the jungle to hide.

"Education was put on hold and in some cases education was given up altogether."

She said the 10 years of conflict meant that many Bougainville children who stopped primary school would now be in their teens or early 20s.

"It's difficult now to send them back to school ... most of them are too embarrassed because they feel they are too old to go back into the classrooms to learn."

She added that an uneducated child is vulnerable to outside influences.

But she said there are some who are returning to school because they realize how important education is.

In response to questions, Mrs. Akoitai said teenage girls had been raped by men from the different sides of the secessionist conflict.

 

NEW HEADS FOR PNG AND FIJI PAPERS

By Noella Wavu Liklik Diwai

MADANG, Papua New Guinea (October 18, 2001 -PINA Nius Online)--- Two top newspaper executives playing key roles organizing the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) convention in Madang are heading for new jobs.

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier managing director Tony Yianni, the convention organizing committee chairperson, is heading for Suva to head The Fiji Times.

Helping him run the PINA convention is the man who will take over from him as managing director in Port Moresby, Bob Howarth.

Mr. Howarth comes to Papua New Guinea from Queensland Newspapers, where he has been Editorial and Technology Manager.

But Mr. Howarth is no stranger to the Pacific Islands, having conducted new media technology training in both Papua New Guinea and Fiji. He has also been a leader of a project to help the East Timor news media.

Fiji Times managing director Alan Robinson is believed to be returning to a position in Australia after stints running the Post-Courier and then the Fiji Times.

Both newspapers are part of the News Limited group headed by international news media leader Rupert Murdoch.

During the PINA convention it was announced that the Post-Courier and Fiji Times will combine to produce a Braille newspaper for blind Pacific Islands people.

The community service project will be spearheaded by Mr. Howarth, who has previously launched Braille newspapers in Asia, Africa and Australia.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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