CIVIL Aviation, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Charles Abel has lashed out at a press report for “getting it all wrong” and urged the media to get its facts right prior to publishing.
“I am not the acting minister for Transport or Civil Aviation for that matter, as Post-Courier reporter Simon Eroro wrote in his report,” Mr Abel said referring to the daily’s report last Friday, in which Mr Abel was called the acting Minister for Transport.
As per the National Gazzette (No G161) of Tuesday, Sept 1, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare made the changes delegating the Civil Aviation ministry to Mr Abel.
Sir Michael still holds the portfolio of Transport and Works.
“Until such time the Prime Minister sees fit to make changes, I am the Minister for Civil Aviation, my position is a substantive appointment,” he told the media before starting his press conference.
The same article also said: “Papua New Guinea will today learn about the cause of the Airlines PNG owned aircraft that crashed into the Owen Stanley Ranges on Aug 11.”
“This is all wrong,” Mr Abel said.
“The interim report by its nature is not speculative as to the cause or the contributing causal factors that culminated in the accident occurring, but rather, a statement of the factual information leading up to the incident,” he said.
The minister then urged the media to ensure that only facts are reported, indicating that sensational reporting of sensitive issues only created false hopes and expectations.
Prior to the interim report being released last Friday, the victims’ families were given the report on Sept 15, as a sign of respect and normal protocol.
The Post-Courier report also indicated that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) compiled the interim report.
However, CAA boss Joseph Kintau pointed out that “CAA is only the regulator and is not involved in the investigations”.
“We only assisted in search and rescue operations and are not involved in the investigations and compilation of the report,” he said during the release of the Accident Investigation Commission (AIC) report last Friday.
The report was compiled by the AIC.
The AIC, according to an earlier interview by The National with Transport secretary Henry Parakei, “is the appropriate authority who is currently conducting the investigation assisted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau”.
The actual cause of the crash will hopefully be determined after factory tests are done on the two engines which will be sent to Canada.
The engines are still in Port Moresby, being cleaned and prepared for shipment by air to Montreal, Canada.
Other instruments, including navigational parts, have been sent to Australia.