‘The people’s voices need to be heard’

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PORT MORESBY,28 NOVEMBER 2018 (RNZ PACIFIC) – Papua New Guinea journalist Scott Waide says his suspension caused a public outcry over the threat to free and independent media in the country.

EMTV’s deputy regional head of news was reinstated on Monday following a strong public backlash over his suspension on 18 November.

He had been stood down by the public broadcaster’s board over a story considered critical of the government.

The board cited  Waide’s use of a New Zealand Newshub story that reported Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern would not travel in the Maserati fleet controversially bought for the APEC Leaders Summit in the capital, Port Moresby.

Waide said the response from the public to his suspension showed the value of a free and fair media.

“[And] how important it is for a country like Papua New Guinea that has serious problems with health, education, infrastructure,” Waide said.

“And the fact that the people’s voices need to be heard by those in government and of course those overseas.”

The journalist said elements in PNG were attempting to intimidate the media to stop it reporting the truth.

Various sectors in the country had also been trying to control and manipulate stories in the news, Waide said.

“It has been going on for several years now, almost a decade,” he said.

“With various people in different arms of government and also in the private sector trying to influence how the media operates, what kind of content goes into the news.

“And threatening or intimidating or veiled threats and all that.”

Following his reinstatement, Waide made five points about the importance of media freedom