Charles Punaha, the National Information and Communication Technology Authority (NICTA) CEO, said the Act, passed by Parliament in 2016, will not be a form of censorship on mainstream and social media.
“We respect freedom of information and speeches as provided for under the Constitution, but let me also specify that those freedom are referred to by law as qualified rights, meaning that people should not abuse those freedom to commit (crimes) against other people,” Punaha said.
“Our code will be developed within the confines of the law, the existing legislation and mindful to facilitate and respect the freedom provided for.”
However, many of Loop PNG readers think the Act is a smokescreen by the government to protect them from public scrutiny, especially on Facebook.
These are some of the comments on our news site.
“It is censorship your highness. You are telling us to watch our mouths when criticising public, elected officials – a norm in any democracy. Isn’t that the same as prohibiting people from watching certain movies, etc?” wrote a reader.
“People or so-called leaders are pushing around to have media under their control. (It) is to protect themselves from their corrupt practises so where does this freedom of speech come in play, shame on you leaders for pushing this agenda around to pass that law,” Arnold Mara commented.
“We need freedom of speech in our country! We all know that the media in PNG is being controlled by the Government, we need social media to expose corruption and the truth on our Parliamentarians and senior public servants’ immoral and unethical behaviours,” another reader commented.
Meanwhile, under the new Act, the three mobile phone operators must register all their users before the end of 2017.
“We remind subscribers that the number of days has been reduced, and we have 12 months left and they must register now,” Punaha said.
He added that they are in constant dialogue with the mobile operators and are confident with the current progress of SIM card registration.