Brash: Sharing and access to information can empower individuals

Moderator of panel discussions on Empowering Citizens and journalists at the National Integrity Summit, Martin Brash, says  sharing of  and access to  information  is  crucial  to empowering the media and the  communities.

 Mr  Brash made the remarks  during  the National Integrity Summit which was organized by Transparency International at the APEC Haus in Port Moresby on Friday  14  May, 2021. A Senior  media personnel,  Mr Scott Waide was one of the panelists  who  explained the importance of accessing information especially from those who can articulate government policy publicly.

He said this was the biggest problem  faced by  journalists everyday  when failure to access that information or even to get a response, often   leads to publishing a one-sided story. Mr Waide explained that when stories are not published on time, Journalists are criticized of their job.

“It is complicated when people don’t talk to us or respond to our questions and this is what we are facing on the ground every day, said Mr Waide. Mr Waide recommended that an access be given to people who can speak.

Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Mr Steven Matainaho, also agreed to most of the  panel discussions, adding ,  the Department needed  to  complete the work it has been doing. He highlighted three important legislations which are the Digital Transformation Bill, Independent Commission Against Corruption(ICAC) and the Whistle Blowers Act. “We need to see what they are addressing and not forgetting the existing various legislations such as Police  within the social law and order sector”.

The ICT Act 2008 is to be reviewed and the Print Act 1960 that was  not functioning  to be reviewed and absorb into  the ICT Act. Mr Matainaho said that mapping and referencing exercise needed  to take place so that  Journalists are protected  by promoting freedom of media , as well as empowering  people and in particular  Journalists, and ensuring that there are processes taking place to ensure appropriate justice takes place.