The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s national media section committee of elected officials has condemned the suspension of 24 Papua New Guinean TV journalists who walked off the job in support of their colleague.
They have alleged intimidation by EMTV management and political interference. The journalists may now lose their jobs.
EMTV head of news and current affairs Sincha Dimara has been suspended for 21 days without pay over a dispute about editorial balance.
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The incident is the third time in five years that senior journalists have been suspended for reporting public interest news stories.
MEAA’s National Media Section committee resolved: “MEAA stands in solidarity with the journalists of EMTV in Papua New Guinea and condemns the suspension without pay of news manager Sincha Dimara and notice that 24 journalists face dismissal for walking off in support of her and over on-going editorial interference by management.
“This is an assault not only on workers’ rights but also media freedom in PNG.
“No journalist should be economically sanctioned for alleged ‘insubordination’ involving a dispute over editorial balance or be terminated for taking industrial action in support of a colleague in this circumstance.
“This dramatic escalation by EMTV comes as MEAA continues to hold on-going concerns about allegations of political interference in the editorial decision making at PNG’s only national commercial broadcaster.
“Ms Dimara’s case, alongside those of former EMTV head of news and current affairs Neville Choi and former Lae bureau chief Scott Waide, is the third in five years of senior journalists being suspended for reporting on matters of public interest.
“MEAA calls on EMTV executive management to reinstate Ms Dimara and her staff on full pay and guaranteed journalists’ editorial independence.”
- The International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and Pacific Media Watch are among international groups that have made statements condemning the suspension of Dimara and called for her reinstatement on full pay.