The Media Council of Papua New Guinea in a press release today stated that they will be getting legal opinion on the effects of the O’Neill Dion Governments 2016 Cybercrime Act on press freedom, freedom of expression and public access to government information in PNG.
”The council, in its last meeting last Friday agreed that legal opinion should be sought on the impact that the August 2016 legislation will have on the ability of ordinary Papua New Guineans to express themselves through various communication platforms and whether the law hinders the ability of the PNG media to report with fear or favour.” – PNGMC
President for the Media Council of PNG, Alexander Rheeney stated in the press release that there are sections of the law that the Council supports to protect citizens but they are particularly concerned with Section 10 (on data espionage), 21 (defamatory publication), 25 (unlawful disclosure), 26 (spam), 31 (unlawful advertising), 33 (search powers), and 44 (criminal liability of ICT service providers).
The media council stated that there was no Government consultation with the media industry when the legislation was first put forward before its enactment in August 2016. President of the Media Council stated that two experts will study Section 46 of the PNG Constitution on the Freedom of Expression and provide their opinion on how the 2016 Cybercrime Act will impact on the rights of citizens.
The findings will be put to the members of the council for their consideration and deliberation and to identify a course of action if any.
Rheeney added that the Election opens up the opportunity to the council and the media industry to lobby for changes to the legislation when the new national parliament gets elected depending on the advice of the legal experts.