The PNG Media Council has released a statement in response to a Notice from NOC-19 Media advising main stream media personnel that there will not be any more media briefings on how the Government is addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic in Papua New Guinea until further notice.
NOC-19 Media is the Media team headed by Chief Superintendent Dominic Kakas from the Police Media Unit set up to coordinate media conferences out of NOC-19, the heart of the Marape-Steven Government’s response towards COVID-19
The announcement from Chief Superintendent Dominic Kakas, which was posted at 4:40pm on the Prime Minister’s Media Whatsapp Group , informed media houses of the change.
As per the Notice on the Whatsapp Group, it was explained that due to the Quarantine of National Operation Centre, located at Level Three of the Morauta Haus, there will be no media conferences and the NOC-19 Media Team will distribute per-recorded statements to main stream media.
The announcement from NOC-19 Media Team comes hours after COVID-19 results from the second batch of media personnel returned negative today.
The statement issued by the PNG Media Council is calling on the Joint Task Force National Operations Centre-19 to maintain transparency and accountability in their daily briefings, now that there may be a continuation of NOC-19 operation going forward.
Since last Thursday, when all media personnel had their samples taken for COVID-19 testing and remained in quarantine, recorded media statements on COVID-19 were filmed by the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and were have been distributed to all media houses for publication.
While media personnel have acknowledged the work of NOC-19 Media during the last six days, journalists are asking if press conferences can be held again so reporters can ask questions to the SOE Controller, Ministers or the Health Secretary
The Media Council’s statement further outlined the serious breach of security at NOC-19 which resulted in over 500 essential workers, including media personnel to be tested for COVID-19 and quarantine away from their families.
All these workers have had to deal with stigma from their immediate families and their communities describing it as an unwarranted price to pay for the ignorance of personnel providing security at Morauta Haus.
The Media Council has urged journalists and reporters to maintain their scrutiny over every aspect of the country’s response to COVID-19.
By Theckla Gunga, EMTV News, Port Moresby