PM invited to media freedom event

National, Normal

The National, Friday 3rd May 2013

 PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill is among a list of high profile guests invited to the World Press (Media) Freedom Day celebrations at the University of PNG this morning.

According to a tentative programme of events, O’Neill will deliver the keynote address at the event organised by the PNG Media Council and the UPNG journalism school. Former journalists and current MPs Loujaya Toni and Powes Parkop have also been invited to speak on the topic of media freedom.

Toni is the minister for religion, youth and community development in the government and Parkop is governor of National Capital District.

Foreign dignitaries including the United State embassy’s deputy chief of mission, New Zealand’s deputy high commissioner and a representative of the Australian High Commission are also expected to attend the event.

Other guests include UPNG chancellor Steven Pokawin and Yori Yei, the general secretary of the Unesco Commission for PNG.

PNG Media Council official Baluck Bonny met UPNG journalism lecturers Brian Tobia, Emily Matasororo and Jim Veneo yesterday morning to finalise arrangements for the event.

Bonny said the media council had opted to let the journalism lecturers and students take the lead in the programme. 

The chairman of the organising committee is fourth-year student Joel Kunumb.

“We have held media freedom day events in enclosed venues previously but there was little participation from the public. 

The council decided to stage the event in an open area so the civil society and school children especially would learn to understand and appreciate the work of the media,” Bonny said.

He added that PNG media was vibrant and free, which should be appreciated and embraced by all citizens.

“Media freedom day is one time in a year when Papua New Guineans should appreciate the role of media in educating, informing and entertaining the masses,” Bonny said.

This year’s event targeted leading members of society, particularly the state, civil society, the media profession and students to promote media freedom in the country.