Three PNG government agencies have power to censor Facebook

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PNG Chief Censor Jim Abani
PNG Chief Censor Jim Abani ... penalties for cyber harassment and cyber bullying defined under the Act. Image: PNG Post-Courier

By Phoebe Gwangilo in Port Moresby

Censoring of Facebook in Papua New Guinea can be addressed by three mandated government agencies, says Chief Censor Jim Abani.

He was responding to the Post-Courier on how his office was dealing with indecent content posted on Facebook in view of a controversy over a video of an alleged child molester.

“FB censoring is to be addressed by three agencies with relevant responsibilities that are mandated to carry out policies and regulations,” Abani said.

He added: “In the event that pictures and sexual references and connotations are published then the censor will say its objectionable publication.”

Abani said the Cyber Crime Code Act defined penalties for cyber harassment and cyber bullying.

“NICTA (National Information and Communications Technology Authority) may look into electronic devices used to commit crime or offence while Censorship Office will vet or screen the content of materials and determine whether it’s explicit, or not explicit and allowed for public consumption.”

He said police under the Summary Offences Act are equally responsible to censor illicit material posted online.

“Indecent publication published is in the amended Summary Offences Act.”

No comment on specific case
Abani could not comment on the specific video of the alleged 16-year-old child molester, saying that his officers were still working on gathering information.

However, he added that the approved 2021-2025 National Censorship Policy called for partnership and a collaborative approach from each responsible agency.

Abani said a new trend in the digital space had meant the Censorship Office to build its capacity to monitor and control apart from developing the recently launched policy it had been currently doing by reviewing the Censorship Act 1989.

The office was also working on signing an agreement with an internet gateway service provider.

Phoebe Gwangilo is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with permission.

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