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Abstract: On 19 October 1995, the Governor-General of Papua New Guinea issued the terms of reference for a Constitutional Review Committee's (CRC) Subcommittee on Media Accountability: to examine 'whether changes need to be made to ensure that, while freedom of the press is maintained, owners, editors and journalists of all elements of the media are accountable and that persons aggrieved by media abuses have reasonable redress'. The CRC held a public seminar in January 1996 to explore the issues and the Media Council of Papua New Guinea held a 'freedom at the crossroads' seminar the following month. Public responses were overwhelmingly in favour of the traditional 'free' press in Papua New Guinea, as guaranteed under Section 46 of the Constitution. The report of the Subcommittee on Media Accountability to Parliament in June 1996 essentially came to the same conclusion. However, the CRC introduced three draft media laws in November which introduced a controversial system involving a Media Commission, registration of journalists, licensing of media organisations and serious penalties for transgressors. The proposed legislation was widely condemned and was eventually shelved in February 1997. A general view is that the media debate was manipulated by a small group of politicians out of self-interest. This paper examines the developments in the context of the erosion of the news media and free expression in the South Pacific generally.

To cite this article: Robie, David. Community, Demagogues and the South Pacific News Media [online]. Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, No. 86, Feb 1998: 103-121. Availability: <;dn=093339220836478;res=IELLCC> ISSN: 1329-878X. [cited 14 Oct 15].

Personal Author: Robie, David; Source: Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, No. 86, Feb 1998: 103-121 Document Type: Journal Article ISSN: 1329-878X Subject: Freedom of the press; Mass media; Press and politics; Conference proceedings; Press; Peer Reviewed: Yes Affiliation: (1) Lecturer in Journalism, University of Papua New Guinea

Database: Literature & Culture Collection