PNG GROUP SAYS SOCIAL MEDIA FREEDOMS UNDER ATTACK

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Act Now upset by recent moves to hinder ‘vibrant democracy’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 28, 2012) – A Papua New Guinea advocacy group that actively campaigns using the internet says an attempt by the government to clamp down on social media is a threat to freedom of expression and a hindrance to a vibrant democracy.

Last week the prime minister’s chief of staff, Ben Micah, put out a press release condemning what he called the spread of malicious and misleading information and promising that offenders would be dealt with.

He said this misinformation is detrimental to the peace and good order of the community and subversive to country’s security.

[PIR editor’s note: PNG blogger Emmanuel Nakarobi says the crackdown is reminiscent of witch hunts, "like the attempts in the United States to ferret out communists."]

The spokesperson for the NGO, Act Now, Effrey Dademo, says her organization is encouraging people to speak up about their concerns and she says it is really upset by Mr. Micah’s move.

"Because that’s not really healthy for the country at the moment in terms of having people speak up. And that’s one of the concerns Act Now has. Our main aim is to get the mass population of PNG to speak up about what they see is not right."

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