PNG DICT Clarifies Misconceptions on Draft National Media Development

The Papua New Guinea Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has expressed disappointment over the misconstruing of the intent of the Draft National Media Development Policy (draft Policy) by various media outlets.

Secretary for the Department of Information and Communications Technology Mr Steven Matainaho clarified that the current version of the draft Policy has no intention of giving powers to the government to control the media or infringing on the constitutional rights of freedom of expression.

“The draft media policy aims to provide a legislative framework to strengthen the work of the PNG Media Council and enable structural and budget reforms to fund development programs for the PNG Media Council and universities” says Secretary Matainaho.

Secretary Matainaho added that the draft Policy seeks to promote the media industry and unlock several benefits, including improving the conditions surrounding the media profession. Most importantly, the PNG Media Council will continue to operate independently of the government, similar to other professions such as the law (PNG Law Society), medical (PNG Institue of Doctors), and engineering (institute of engineers) professions.

The government is focused on working towards one of its pillars in vision 2050 on “Knowledgeable Society”, to help us work closely with media to achieve that.

The government, through the National Media Development Policy will support the development of a diverse and vibrant media ecosystem, with a range of independent media outlets that are free to report and disseminate censored informative and news contents.

This can help ensure that a diversity of voices and perspectives are represented in the media landscape, which is essential for promoting an informed and engaged citizenry.

By the government’s input in investing in education and training, promoting media literacy, and supporting a diverse and vibrant media ecosystem, it can further add value to the creation of a knowledgeable society where citizens are well-informed and engaged in the public sphere.

The Department of ICT also acknowledges concerns raised by the Community Coalition of Corruption in its press statement on 16th February 2023, regarding certain functions proposed to be established in the Department of ICT.

The department is currently working to address these concerns in the next draft (2nd version) and welcomes input from stakeholders to improve this draft policy.

The draft National Media Development Policy is available for consultation on the PNG Department of Information and Communications Technology website.

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