Papua New Guinea Media Marginalized During Australian PM's Visit

Several events were restricted to overseas journalists; locals asked to remain behind Australian media

By Matthew Vari

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 12, 2017) – The visit by Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull was not without controversy when the local media found themselves being snubbed from a number of media opportunities.

It began with the PNG media being instructed by Australian officials to keep its distance behind Australian media personnel during the Bomana War Cemetery visit by the Prime Minister Turnbull.

The local media were then snubbed to take part in a doorstop conference that was restricted to Australian media personnel at the war cemetery.

 After the meeting between the two leaders at the Airways Hotel in Port Moresby- personnel were also informed that the local media were not to ask questions to both Prime Ministers during the joint press conference.

Minister responsible for National Events, Justin Tkatchenko made mention of the issue during his word of thanks at the Jackson’s International Airport, following the departure of Mr Turnbull.

“You are the A Team and we have done this for the last five years and I want to congratulate you all from the military to the police, to the traffic (police), to protocol, to foreign affairs, to national events, NCDC, and of course NAC (National Airports Corporation) and all the security and CS and also to all the media,” Mr Tkatchenko said.

“I heard the media had a rough time but we will get over that and will work out from our experiences,” Mr Tkatchenko said.

Australian journalist Erik Tlozek, who witnessed what unfolded, also expressed dissatisfaction on social media on the way the local media was treated during the visit.

“I am disappointed and embarrassed that my PNG media colleagues felt they were not allowed to attend this morning's press conference with Malcolm Turnbull at Bomana.”

“If Australia wants to show that its government is open to media scrutiny, surely it should welcome journalists to a presser held in their own country,” Tlozek posted on Facebook.

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