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Pacific Islands News Association condemns media attacks in Papua New Guinea and Fiji

"Post Courier" journalist Frankiy Kapin, Papua New Guinea

PINA

The Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) joins the Media Council of Papua New Guinea (MCPNG) and the PNG Media Workers Association in strongly condemning the alleged attack on Post Courier journalist, Frankiy Kapin in Lae in Papua New Guinea's Morobe Province last Friday (16 February 2018).

Incidences of unprovoked attacks, intimidation, threats, verbal abuse and arrest of media workers in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific are on the rise.

"This is a very worrying trend for all media workers in the Pacific who are just doing their jobs. Already there is a lot of self-censoring happening in some newsrooms as journalists are fearful for their lives and their jobs forcing them to shy away from covering controversial issues," said PINA President, Mr Moses Stevens.

PINA is urging National Media Associations to ensure the safety of their members at all times, particularly female journalists, and raise their concerns with relevant authorities.

In the PNG attack, the regional media body is encouraged by the swift condemnation of the attack by the Media Council of PNG and the PNG Media Workers that resulted in the arrest of four men involved in the attack and an apology from the Deputy Governor of Morobe Province, Mr Judas Nalau.

"We want to remind the governments of Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island Countries that a free, uncensored, and unhindered media is the cornerstone of a democratic society and PINA and like-minded media freedom bodies in the region and globally will not hesitate to call out governments who do not respect basic international human rights.

Last week in Fiji, three journalists, Netani Rika, Samisoni Pareti and Nanise Volau from the regional monthly magazine Islands Business were arrested and interrogated by Police over an article published by the magazine.

"These types of intimidation and bullying must not be tolerated and strongly condemned. We urge media organisations and the local media associations to have access to legal advice to protect journalists caught in this situation," said Mr Stevens.

PINA was also encouraged by the overwhelming support from journalists, media organisations and human rights activists in Fiji and around the Pacific and globally for their support in raising their concerns for the alleged intimidation tactics used on our members in Fiji.

This issue is expected to feature prominently on the agenda of the 5th Pacific Media Summit to be held in Nuku'alofa in May this year.

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