25 May 2012

Call to probe PNG police over media harrassment

12:34 pm on 25 May 2012

The regional media watchdog body, the Pacific Freedom Forum, says Papua New Guinea police and soldiers who obstructed journalists on Thursday at the Supreme Court in Port Moresby must be investigated.

The caretaker deputy prime minister, Belden Namah, stormed into the court with a team of police and soldiers with the intention of arresting the Chief Justice.

He ordered journalists out of the court room and at least one photographer was told to delete images he had taken.

The Pacific co-ordinator for the International Federation of Journalists, and founding member of the Pacific Freedom Forum, Lisa Williams Lahari, says shutting out the media raises very key issues about governance.

She says the organisations will back any journalists who want to lay a police complaint.

"The problem is though that they are well aware that given the state of affairs at the moment it can be quite tricky as a journalist going to the very people that you are making the complaint against and asking them to pursue their own colleagues in terms of an investigation. So it is super sensitive and it's already a strong concern for many journalists especially female ones who have been the brunt of harassments over the phone and by email."