4 Apr 2003

PNG government considering laws to punish critics

10:20 am on 4 April 2003

Papua New Guinea is to consider laws which will allow the prosecution of people, including foreigners, who publicly criticise its government.

An Australian expatriate businessman Rod Mitchell and a naturalised PNG citizen, Mike Manning, were yesterday(thur) hauled before the Parliamentary Privileges Committee to explain why they had publicly criticised PNG.

Mr Manning, who is an economic analyst, was the co-author of a controversial report titled, Papua New Guinea, On the Brink, which suggested the country could collapse.

It was widely quoted in the Australian media, infuriating PNG politicians.

The Committee chairman Nick Kuman said he would "come down hard" on them for their comments.

He said the committee will propose legislation to amend the existing laws so that there is in place an effective and justifiable means to deter critics who persistently and knowingly publish damaging articles.