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Assault of PNG journalist and online abuse of Samoan editor are "uncalled for", says PINA

Journalist Dorothy Mark
Journalist Dorothy Mark

PINA

The following is a 27 August 2018 PINA media release:

ASSAULT OF PNG JOURNALIST AND ONLINE ABUSE OF SAMOAN EDITOR UNCALLED FOR, AUTHORITIES MUST INVESTIGATE AND CHARGE THOSE RESPONSIBLE

The President of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) and Managing Director of PNG National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), Mr Kora Nou is appalled and disappointed by reports of assault on Madang-based journalist, Ms Dorothy Mark, who travelled to Manam Island on Saturday to cover the latest volcanic disaster.

Mr Nou is equally concerned with the online abuse targeted at Samoan journalist Ms Lani Wendt Young, the Editor of the Samoa Planet online. Ms Went Young is a member of the Pacific Environment Journalists Network (PEJN). The PEJN is a member of PINA, and has been targeted by online abusers through her Facebook and social media accounts.

"In the case of Ms Mark in PNG, she was with three of her media colleagues who risked their own lives during the long weekend to travel to Manam to ensure the rest of Madang and Papua New Guinea, and indeed the world, appreciate the latest calamity to befall the Manam Islanders.

"It is such early reporting and awareness by our journalists that can trigger quicker evacuation of our citizens, as well as much-needed relief assistance.

"The reported unprovoked assault on Ms Mark, who received facial injuries, should therefore be condemned in the strongest terms and those responsible be arrested and charged.

"The reporters were just carrying out their normal duties in an otherwise natural emergency situation," the PINA President said.

He said initial reports from NBC Journalist-In-Charge in Madang, Ms Anisah Issimel indicate that the boat they had used to travel to the Island on Saturday was taken away from them and they had to walk for an hour to the next village to hitch a ride back in the early hours of Sunday morning.

"I call on the Madang Provincial Administration and the police to immediately investigate this unprovoked assault and criminally charge those responsible.

"While the majority of the Manam Islanders are genuinely affected by Saturday's latest eruption, it's such uncalled for actions by a few that may derail the initial rescue and relief efforts.

"Our immediate efforts should be focused on assisting the majority of the affected islanders, and not being distracted by these few opportunists," he said.

"In the case of Ms Young in Samoa, she says the abuse started after she raised issues online. She has reported the matter to both New Zealand Police and Facebook and had to stop using her social media accounts recently."

Mr Nou said online abuse was serious and all efforts must be made to stop this act. "We stand by journalists who work tirelessly to raise issues that affect people. We cannot condone abuse by anyone on our journalists.

"Online abuse is serious and we hope that service providers can put in place controls that would prevent this from happening," Mr Nou said. He has also called on the PNG Media Council and its Samoan counterpart to take charge of both matters immediately and lay formal police complaints in PNG and Samoa.

KORA NOU
President of PINA and
Managing Director of PNG NBC

Editor Lani Wendt Young
Editor Lani Wendt Young

PINA

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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