By Adelaide Sirox Kari – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Tuesday’s (20th of Nov 2018) rampage at the National Parliament Haus was bad enough, but now there is an outcry on the attack on journalists who were first on site.
Three journalists were assaulted, and their camera equipment smashed in front of the Parliament Haus.
One of the Journalists had 8 officers punching him at one time, while another, almost had her shirt ripped off.
The actions of the Police and CS officers have the media fraternity questioning whether or not people understand the core responsibility of Journalism in PNG.
With the PNG Media Council saying media practitioners are sick and tired of ignorant members of state agencies, attacking Journalists because they feel they are above the law.
Media Council President Neville Choi said the latest incident only proves that there is something terribly wrong with the disciplinary forces.
“We do not expect our disciplinary forces to act like hoodlums, and petty criminals, who resort to wanton physical destruction of public property, or who attack innocent journalists who are only doing their jobs,” Mr. Choi said.
In a Media statement from PNGFM where two of the journalist work, News Director Genesis Ketan said they were simply doing their job and covered the proceedings of what was happening at the National Parliament Haus when they were accosted by a group of inflamed disciplinary officers, both police and correctional services.
“Upon seeing the Journalist – one officer called out “em ol reporter ya, ol laik kisim wanem kain story paitim ol” (“They are reporters, what kind of story are they here for, beat them up.”) The female Journalist was manhandled by a group of police officer who pulled at her shirt attempting to rip it off”
In the statement PNGFM released a paragraph of the police report filed by the female journalist:
“One of the police officers pulled out my camera from my bag and smashed it right in front of me. While I was trying to take in what was happening, another officer pulled my bag causing the leather handle of my bag to break. He then threw my bag on the ground, kicked it towards the other officers, they, in turn, kicked the bag back to him, emptying out all my belongings in the bag. Another officer picked up my phone and smashed it while others were shouting yelling abusive languages”.
EMTV news questioned the Police Commissioner if he was aware of the incident and if police and CS officers will be charged.
“I am ashamed and disappointed,”
“It is an attack on media freedom, but at that time the emotions must have been high. It will be a part of the investigations” Baki said
CS Acting Commissionaire Commissioner, Steven Pokanis has also made similar remarks.
The Media Council President has called on the Police Commissioner to stay true to his word for an investigation, and that the media industry will not rest until the thugs in uniform are removed from the force.
PNGFM has logged their complaints with both the Police and CIS for investigation and charges to follow for those who were involved.
The Media Council says if nothing is done, it is a disgrace to the RPNGC Crest, and all it stands for.