Today, an EMTV Crew was verbally assaulted and a senior cameraman punched and hit in the back with a 16 kilogram tripod by supporters of Sitting Moresby South Member of Parliament , Justin Tkatchenko.
The mob demanded footages deleted and threatened to assault four crew members in an EMTV vehicle on Lawes road.
Journalists Bethanie Harriman and Stanley Ove Jr were collecting generic pictures of election banners around Port Moresby with Senior Cameraman, Konts Kara.
After collecting pictures at Gerehu the crew stopped in Moresby South.
On Lawes road in Konedobu, supporters loyal to sitting MP, Justin Tkatchencko attacked Senior Cameraman Konts Kara.
Mr Kara was verbally assaulted by the mob who then threatened to break a camera if the footage wasn’t deleted.
The crowd advanced on the company vehicle banging on the windows, taking the keys off the driver, and forced the cameraman to delete footage of the sitting MP’s campaign banners.
A senior coordinator of the Minister’s Campaigning team accused EMTV of being biased in reports while swearing at the crew.
Minister, Tkatchenko’s first secretary, Keith Puairia was contacted by Journalist Bethanie Harriman.
Mr. Puairia contacted the campaign coordinator confirming the incident.
He said the campaign coordinators had suggested compensating the cameraman who was assaulted.
Elections in PNG have traditionally been considered a time of great risk.
This time around, with a more informed voter population who have strong views on issues of transparency and accountability, it seems that there is also an increase in paranoia, on the part of intending candidates, and moreso, sitting MPs.
Media Niugini Limited management maintains that EMTV News remains independent, and impartial of political bias.
And during events like national elections, the independence, and integrity of the media, cannot be dictated to, or intimidated in any shape, or form.
To do so, would mean political suicide for the perpetrator.