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Holding the line? Keeping independent may be a close-run thing for media in PNG

Volume 11, Issue 2

September, 2005

From page
102
to page
126
Duffield, L. (2005). Holding the line? Keeping independent may be a close-run thing for media in PNG. Pacific Journalism Review, 11(2): 102-126.
Author(s): Lee Duffield
Publication date: 
September, 2005

This investigation deploys journalistic expertise and method to bring information about media and government relations in Papua New Guinea up to date. The researcher identifies the news agenda by means of a press review over two weeks; discusses the issues raised with informed interviewees from government, media and universities; and checks the information against published research. The report traces a tense media-government relationship, marked by mutual recrimination over access to information. While government observes principles of free speech, and day-by-day relations are cordial, there have been recurrent moves towards regulation of news media, and many instances of intimidation of journalists. A general context of economic stress, official corruption, and violence exacerbates negative feelings, despite efforts on both sides to maintain détente. The relationship is seen heading towards a possible show-down over Rimbunan Hijau, the timber company widely accused of environmental crimes, abuse of citizens and corruption of high officials.