PNG Government Buys EMTV Television Station

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Opposition worried move is to control media

By Gynnie Kero

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 6, 2016) – The Government has acquired its second television station - EMTV - for K20 million, according to Public Enterprise and State Investment Minister Ben Micah.

The Government, through Telikom PNG Limited, bought the television station off Media Niugini Limited, which at one stage early last year was negotiating a deal with Digicel (PNG) to buy it off.

Micah made the announcement yesterday of the acquisition of Media Niugini Limited, trading as EMTV, previously managed by Fiji Television Limited.

[PIR editor’s note: On Jan. 7, 2016 PNG Post-Courier reported that ‘The Opposition has questioned the Government of its real intention to buy television station EMTV. ... The Opposition fears the purchase is another tactical move by the Government to control media in the country. ... Opposition Leader Don Polye said the country’s oldest television station may now become another propaganda tool for the Government.’]

Micah said the deal was sealed before Christmas and all financial transactions for the purchase had been completed.

"I am happy to say that this important media property is now owned by Telikom (PNG) Limited," he said.

The State’s other television station is NBC TV, formerly known as Kundu Two.

"I will discuss with the Minister for Information and Communications Jimmy Miringtoro to see how our two State- owned television stations can work together and complement each other."

Meanwhile, Micah said he would allow the arbitration process to take its course in the dispute between the PNG Communication Workers Union and Telikom management on the "spill and fill" exercise.

Micah has been advised that the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations has called for a compulsory conference under the Industrial Relations Act and he will respect that.

"I will not intervene as a legal process of arbitration is underway. This is the correct approach and I urge all parties to adhere and respect this process," he said.

"It is the prerogative of the compulsory conference to suspend or continue the ‘spill and fill’ exercise as it sees fit.

"The ministry has just received advice that the matter is still before the courts and has not been withdrawn."

Micah said Telikom PNG, like all other State-owned entities, was undergoing major reforms and restructuring, and issues would surface as staff and officers could be affected in one way or the other .

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