Papua New Guinea | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

29

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

13

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

12

The media are generally free, although the government sometimes ignores constitutional free press clauses and intimidates some journalists. The prime minister this year threatened to sue the Australian Broadcasting Corporation when one of its local correspondents reported on government involvement with a powerful timber company. In October, an Australian SBS Dateline television reporter had her passport confiscated by authorities after she traveled to the country without proper immigration clearance to film segments for a story about the foreign-dominated logging industry. Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare defended his government's action, but he was accused in parliament of encouraging the arrest because of a special relationship with Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau, which owns The National, one of two daily newspapers. Media groups criticized The National's lack of independence. The second daily, the Post-Courier, is owned by a subsidiary of News Corporation.

For the most part the press is active, but access to media is limited to the capital. Radio serves as the most important news medium. The government operates one national radio station and a network of regional stations. The diversity of the news media, which has been shrinking in recent years with the closure of the church-owned Independent, took a further knock in 2004. In December, it was announced that Fiji Television was buying out the sole national television channel, EM TV, from Australia's Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd. A Fijian company is already the owner and operator of the major privately owned PNGFM radio broadcaster.