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.