By PNG Echo
The suspended senior police officer, Thomas Eluh, has released a media statement that cautions that the “[m]edia is not the right forum to discuss PM’s guilt or innocence.”
True enough, but Mr. Eluh’s media statement says so much more.
And, clearly, Mr Eluh sees no irony in a media release that attempts to censor the media – issued by someone with absolutely no authority.
The purpose of media release is to give the press publishable information, not to issue gratuitous threats.
It seems that Mr Eluh’s tolerance for only “fair comment” can be interpreted as ‘any comment that flatters his own prejudices.’
When, therein, Mr Eluh issued his caution to “Mr Pala and Mr Isikiel (sic),” and conveyed his sympathy to the Prime Minister for being “misled” by his advisers (defamatory?) did he expect the press to report this or to heed his warning? Thus:
Discussing matters crucial to police investigation and matters which are currently before the courts could be viewed as perverting the course of justice or contempt of court.
I rather think that the charge, if any, would be sub judice contempt and, as matters are not heard by a jury in PNG, and judges are deemed to be resistant to media influence, then the intent of the legislation (to shield the courts from undue outside influence) is not really coming much into play. It would seem that the intent of the legislation is being perverted, in this instance, in a bid for media censorship.
So as to the next threat, I say: “knock yourself out.”
Police will be closely examining all statements made by various persons in the media with a view to laying of charges against them in the near future.
Anyway, does a suspended police officer have any authority to issue such threats from a police force from which he’s suspended? Has he, with this media release, committed a punishable offence?
It’s a blatant, ham-fisted attempt to control the media and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms – whichever side of the political divide you may be on.