By PNG Echo.
Last week, in PNG, a judicial review, in the court of Justice Colin Makail, that was to decide the fate of International Task Force Sweep (ITFS) was vacated (adjourned) pending a motion by the defendants (the Prime Minister and the National Executive Council) that Sam Koim, Chairman of ITFS (plaintiffs), show cause why firstly, he should not be charged with disobeying a court order and/or sub judice contempt, secondly, why he should not be referred to the Lawyers Statutory Committee and thirdly why the Task Force Sweep case should not be summarily dismissed.
Lawyers for the Prime Minister and NEC alleged that a court order was breached when Koim held a press conference, released a press statement, posted on social media and took out a full-page advertisement in The National that discussed the case.
These are serious allegations as Sam Koim is a lawyer: an officer of the court and should know better.
So make no mistake: this is News – big news.
Then why did The National bury the details of the court proceedings half-way down page 6 of the next day’s (Friday’s) newspaper and the Post Courier chose not to run it until a week to the day after the decision and probably after some high powered complaints from concerned parties?
Besides, by the time the Post Courier published the outcome it was hardly ‘news’ anymore anyway.
This notwithstanding, there were two feel-good stories (or was it three?) run about Koim in the Monday edition of Post Courier, that is, after he’d been cited for contempt and before the Post Courier had found it necessary to inform its public.
However, not charged with sub judice contempt are the publishers of the Koim ‘report’: EMTV, Post Courier, The National, PNG Loop and the plethora of social media pages and blogs that carried the offending report.
It’s interesting that these news outlets were prepared to risk a charge of sub judice contempt to broadcast Koim’s message (they understood the risk) but did not report the court findings neither adequately nor in a timely manner.
This suggests that they are pushing a specific agenda – where are their ethics?
Recently, I met a former Papua New Guinean Member of Parliament and senior statesman. He commented how much he appreciated the media as “we wouldn’t know what is going on if it wasn’t for them.”
I also recall a particularly cynical statement of a colleague “if we don’t report it, it hasn’t happened.”
Do the editors in PNG, those who decide what stories are ‘newsworthy’ subscribe to that last principle rather than the first – because that’s what it’s looking like?
To that very worthy PNG gentleman, I apologize because news in PNG is sick and dying and out of the ashes is rising the promotion of a dangerous, self-serving agenda backed by unknown forces.