PNG ICT Minister Masiu Issues Ultimatum Against Social Media Abuse

 In a stern warning today, Papua New Guinea Minister for Information and Communication Technology, Timothy Masiu, declared that the government will not hesitate to shut down social media applications and sites if the abuse and misuse of these platforms persist. The minister emphasized the grave consequences of spreading fake news, misinformation, and disinformation, citing incidents that led to property destruction and loss of life in Port Moresby and other parts of the country.

Minister Masiu invoked his statutory power under the National Information and Communication Technology Act 2009, asserting the authority to restrict access to social media sites and applications if the trend of abuse continues. He disclosed that the Ministry of ICT has observed a significant surge in social media usage since January 10, 2024, with a notable portion disseminating misinformation and disinformation.

Addressing the nation, Minister Masiu announced a 10-day grace period, effective immediately, for the public to comply with regulations or face a complete shutdown of social media platforms during the State of Emergency. He expressed concerns over discussions on social media platforms that incite violence, destruction, spread false information or confidential government details, and engage in defamatory acts. Legal action will be promptly taken against such activities.

"National security, public emergency, and public safety are crucial for a secured and content country. I urge all citizens to collaborate in restoring normalcy after a week of mayhem and destruction, especially in Port Moresby," stated Minister Masiu.

He revealed that the Ministry of ICT would intensify monitoring efforts, encouraging citizens to report social media abuses to the police cybercrime unit for investigations, arrests, and prosecutions. Minister Masiu also emphasized consultations with the ICT industry to ensure the safe and secure use of the internet, urging collaboration with the ministry and the regulator NICTA to guarantee a secure online environment for the nation.

In conclusion, Minister Masiu reminded the citizens of Papua New Guinea of their duty to abide by rules and laws, emphasizing the collective responsibility to progress towards becoming a better and more secure country.

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