PNG FREE PRESS STANDS UP TO BULLYING PRIME MINISTER

Editorial

PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Oct. 5) – The Chief of all chiefs [Prime Minister Michael Somare] has called for chief executives and reporters of the Papua New Guinea Post-Courier to be brought before Parliament for what he calls a breach of privilege.

He is reportedly slighted by our front page report which detailed the less than glamourous way in which he returned to the country this week.

He feels this newspaper has not done enough to parade his Government’s many good deeds before the people.

Sir Michael Somare, as a founding member of this nation, has a right to express his opinion on such matters.

We, as a longstanding member of the Papua New Guinea community and as the newspaper that has proudly chronicled the good and bad of our lives for all of our independence, also have the right to say what we feel.

Most of the content of this newspaper is fact and opinions of others in the community about what is going on in our nation.

It is only in this space on page 10 that the news management of the Post-Courier expresses its opinions.

The report complained of by the Chief was a well-founded, factual report of his return to the country, of a lack of the usual protocol-laden fanfare and surrounded by a much higher level of security given the threats by military elements to try to arrest our No. 1 citizen.

We are not ashamed of our ongoing efforts to write for our reading public, which includes a small minority of people called politicians who think they know best. The rest of the public wants to know all the news that is fit to print – the good and the bad.

We cover the achievements of Government, as well as those of the ordinary people and the private sector.

We also report the weaknesses of people, from the lowliest struggler who commits criminal mayhem to the most high and mighty bureaucrat or politician who commits "white collar’’ crime or fraud or abuse of the system. The Prime Minister already has his propaganda mouthpiece, the regular parade of pictures of the leaders alongside their pet projects in a printed form that is paid for by the Government.

He is entitled to do that. But the Post-Courier, which has many Papua New Guinean individuals and PNG based institutions on its shareholders listing, reserves the right to run the newspaper in the way that newspapers are operated in many other countries, including free and democratic Pacific countries.

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