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Attacks on the Press in 2003 - Papua New Guinea

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 2004
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2003 - Papua New Guinea, February 2004, available at: [accessed 24 April 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

2003 Documented Cases – Papua New Guinea

AUGUST 8, 2003

Gorethy Kenneth, Papua New Guinea Post-Courier

Armed men claiming to be supporters of Harold Keke, a rebel leader in the Solomon Islands, attacked the Bougainville offices of the English-language daily Papua New Guinea Post-Courier and threatened Kenneth, the newspaper's correspondent in Bougainville. Bougainville is an island in Papua New Guinea, across the Coral Sea from the Solomon Islands.

On the day of the attack and on August 7, the Post-Courier ran front-page articles alleging that Keke's Guadalcanal Liberation Front (GLF) had ties to the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA). The BRA is a separatist group that fought the government of Papua New Guinea in a bloody, decade-long civil war that ended in 2001 when Papua New Guinea accorded a new autonomous status to Bougainville. Both articles were written by Eric Kone, the Post-Courier's correspondent in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands.

According to Kenneth's account, published in the August 11 issue of the Post-Courier, two men entered the newspaper's office in Bougainville on August 8 at 10 a.m. and ordered her to stop the Post-Courier from publishing articles about Keke. "We can burn down this office if you don't obey us," they told Kenneth, according to the newspaper. They also threatened to travel to the Solomon Islands and kill Kone, reported Kenneth.

The two men left, but 20 minutes later several more men stormed into the office, armed with knives and a shotgun. They confronted Kenneth, throwing copies of the August 7 and August 8 issues of the Post-Courier in front of her. According to Kenneth, one of the men threatened, "We can kill you now." When she pointed out that she was not the author of the reports and asked what was wrong with them, the man slapped her and accused her of being a spy. "I can kill you here, now, and nobody will know," he told Kenneth, according to the Post-Courier.

The men left after vandalizing some of the office's equipment. According to the Post-Courier's managing director, Bob Howarth, the newspaper has closed its Bougainville office and has temporarily evacuated Kenneth to a safer location. The Post-Courier has filed a detailed report with the Deputy Commission of Police and is awaiting a response, Howarth told CPJ. The Post-Courier, which is owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch, is Papua New Guinea's largest newspaper.

Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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