Papua New Guinea
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‘Safety paramount for journos’

The Commissioner of Police, David Manning has raised concerns relating to the safety of journalists in hostile situations and will discuss the matter with the Media Council of PNG.

He highlighted his concerns following an incident in Moitaka yesterday where an NBC cameraman was grazed by a stray bullet that struck a journalist in the arm.

“The media are the public’s eyes and ears in our democracy, and there must be respect and protection for journalists to carry out their professional duties,” Mr Manning said.

The situation yesterday is not acceptable and occurred after criminal elements fired weapons wildly and police proceeded to bring the situation under control.

I am advised that the NBC journalist received care and hope she is able to make full recovery.

“Investigations are ongoing as to what occurred, and I will release details when they come to hand.

“This is the unfortunate reality of the environment in which police operate after decades of neglect of our internal security services, but we are making changes to return the balance in the favour of law-abiding people.”

Mr Manning said he agrees with the suggestion by the Media Council to engage with the RPNGC to develop measures to better ensure the safety of journalists.

“I would like police to work with the Media Council to establish a better ways for the protection for the liberty and lives of media professionals.

“This has to be done carefully in a way that will provide additional protection for professionals doing their jobs, while not placing them and others at higher risk.

“No person is bulletproof and we don’t want to see the lives of the public at unnecessary risk during security operations.”