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PNG: Parliament's public accounts committee defends media ban


The front page of the PNG Post-Courier on Friday. Image: PC

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Item: 8643

PORT MORESBY (Pacific Media Watch / PNG Post-Courier / PNG Loop): The media in PNG have been banned from an important inquiry into parliament spending.

The story made the front pages of local media.

The inquiry is being conducted by Parliament's public accounts committee, whose meetings are usually open.

The PNG Post-Courier reported that John Hickey, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), had banned the media and the public from attending the inquiry, alleging that the media might "misrepresent" the discussions.

Last week, Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil slammed the decision, saying that Parliament had in recent years had major issues with its finances including corruption and the media should not be barred.

But PNG Loop reports that Hickey is refusing to back down, saying that certain matters being discussed in the committee were confidential.

Without giving details, Hickey said he would not allow government officials "to be compromised in anywhere, in any inquiry particularly in certain matters that are confidential, and that we could possibly compromise the individual or the State". PNG Loop reported.

but at no time, willI allow  as chairman of this committee, will let any of my officers in government to be compromised in anywhere, in any inquiry particularly in certain matters that are confidential, and that we could possibly compromise the individual or the State. - See more at: http://www.pngloop.com/2014/05/30/parliaments-get-tough-accounts-committee-defends-power-ban-public-press-hearings/#sthash.BaiNqjVm.QW9pKwla.dpuf

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Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
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