By Suli Suli, EMTV Cadet Journalist – Port Moresby
An agreement will be signed between the Papua New Guinea Office of Censorship and PNG Customs Service to strengthen the working relationship between both state agencies. Chief Censor, Steven Mala, announced this today saying both agencies plan to improve in areas including the enforcement of the Censorship Act to combat the import of prohibited items.
Traditionally, the Censorship Office had worked closely with PNG Customs Service in monitoring the importation of prohibited items into Papua New Guinea – items that violate the “Censorship Act on Classification of Publication”.
However, there is a need to further strengthen this working relationship. Chief Censor, Steven Mala, says an MOU is being finalised for both state agencies to enter into.
Concerns have been raised regarding existing legislation relating to the possession of illegal material – legislation that is not known by many; but Mala said this should not be an excuse.
The censorship board has proposed a revision to existing legislation, especially in relation to penalties imposed on those in possession of illegal materials or items. Currently, the penalty is a K1000 fine and 6 months imprisonment. The revised act proposes an increase in the fine to up to ten thousand kina and 2 years of imprisonment.
And as such, the need to collaborate more closely with PNG customs is a priority for the Office of Censorship, with an MOU now being finalised.