Two prominent print media houses have been fined a total of K73, 500 for failing to blur images of asylum seekers at the Manus Detention Centre.
The penalties for the Post Courier and National newspapers were handed down by the Judge presiding during the enquiries at the Centre early in March this year.
The National newspaper received lesser of the penalty due to pleading guilty earlier on during the proceedings.
During the enquiry in Manus, Justice David Cannings had made it clear to media personnel that they were allowed to take pictures of subjects within the asylum centre on one condition: that they must blur the images, or in his terms, frost the images.
Both the National and Post Courier failed to take heed of the judge’s clear directives. The journalists involved are The National’s Charles Moi and Post Courier’s Todagia Kelola, who blamed night editors for the over sight.
The National’s notably smaller penalty was due to their earlier acknowledgement of the breach of law.
In the end, Justice Cannings handed down two separate penalties for each case. One for the individual reporters and another for the companies as entities.
The National: K1, 000 for Journalist Charles Moi and K20, 000 for the company.
The Post Courier: K2, 500 for Journalist Todagia Kelola, and a hefty K50, 000 for the company.
The penalties must be paid within 14 days or the individuals face jail time, while the companies risk the confiscation of company assets valued at the sum of their penalties.
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