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Regional media condemn police attack on Papua New Guinea camera crew

On 12 June 2014, pacific media colleagues condemned a police attack on two members of a television camera crew as 'senseless and cowardly' and called for a swift investigation into the matter.

TV station EMTV News Manager Sincha Dimara said the crew had been in 15-Mile on 9 June, following up on reports that police had used knives to jab and poke five male youths over land disputes.

In the midst of their filming, police nearby rushed the group, manhandled reporter Quniton Alomp and camera operator Gesoko Adrian, and locked them in the local police post without charges.

During their time at the post, Adrian was punched to the side of the head by a station guard. Dimara reported the men were forced to delete all their footage and tear out their note pages for the story.

The EMTV company driver raised the alarm with station management and calls were made to Central Police bosses who ordered the release of the media workers.

It's also been reported a formal complaint has since been lodged with Police.

"Regional media colleagues condemn the attack, and seek an open, independent inquiry into the matter. It's important for public confidence [that] the perpetrators of this senseless and cowardly abuse of their positions be brought to account without delay," says PFF Chair Titi Gabi of PNG.

"Without swift and decisive police action, the culture of impunity surrounding illegal, threatening and abusive behaviour by the paid enforcers of law and order against those serving the same public interest, will continue."

From American Samoa, PFF co-chair Monica Miller says it's important the police handle the crisis of credibility this and previous actions against the media create.

"Ironically, the allegations of police abuse against citizens which the crew were investigating, became their own real-life story. It is important that police forces and media use this sad incident as an opportunity to come together and overcome the ignorance which led to this situation."

She says the assault sets a 'frightening' precedent of attacks clamping down on media and the public interest.

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