Papua New Guinea | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 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 robust and enjoy a constitutional guarantee of freedom of the media and of expression. However, some politicians ignore press freedoms and use their power to threaten and intimidate journalists. The country has the highest level of training for journalists in the South Pacific. A $13.9 million five-year Australian-funded Media Development Initiative project has been established with support from the Papua New Guinea Media Council and state-run National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to strengthen national media and governance institutions. Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, the country's "founding father" and himself a former broadcaster, has at times enjoyed a frosty relationship with both the local media and media from the former colonial power, Australia. Reporting of the deployment of Fiji "mercenaries" by cultist and pyramid scheme conman Noah Musingku in the province of Bougainville after a 10-year-long civil war during the 1990s provoked criticism of the media. There were concerns about restrictions on access to information when an Australian journalist was escorted from a room where Prime Minister Somare was on an airport stopover.

Both daily newspapers are foreign owned and provide a variety of editorial viewpoints. The long established Post-Courier is owned by a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation with a minority local shareholding, and its rival The National is owned by the Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau. Fiji Television took over Papua New Guinea's 17-year-old sole free-to-air television channel EM TV at the beginning of the year, amid controversy. Another Fijian company, Communications Fiji, had already become the owner and operator of the major privately owned PNG FM radio broadcaster. The state-run NBC operates a network of national and provincial public broadcasting stations. There were a reported 170,000 internet users in 2005, and the internet is open and unrestricted by the government.