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Governor Juffa responds to PM O’Neil’s call to curb social media in PNG

Governor for Oro has responded to the call by PM O’Neil for the Minister for Communication to look into social media, which the Prime Minister alleges are “spreading false and misleading information and spoiling people’s name and image”. O’Neil made this announcement during his press release on [13/05/19] announcing the newly appointed Ministers of the cabinet.

Juffa has stated that the call by O’Neil, threatens to destroy the very fabric of the freedom of the people which is enabled by the Constitution. The Constitution provides for the people to have the right to be free, they also have the freedom to express, their opinions, beliefs, religion, ideas and information.

In fact, there are existing laws and processes that accords everyone with the right to civil law and criminal law action against those spreading fake news or derogatory information. This announcement by O’Neil smacks of sinister dictatorial type control measures that are designed to threaten these very Constitutional rights – rights which are a hallmark of democracy – the very democracy that is the spirit of the Constitution.

Social media has empowered the people’s right to freedom of expression, it has provided a platform for everyone to freely express themselves, discuss ideas, share information etc and there are mechanisms in place to control any abuse therein, through site security measures or through legal redress. The government should be more concerned about improving the level of education rather than impose restrictions to take away the Constitutional rights and freedom of the people.

" Even the US President is subject to false news and does not attempt use that as a reason to control social media in the USA. They understand that it is the right of someone to express their opinions. We are all subject to abuse and gossip and rhetoric and though we maybe upset or hurt by it we need to ensure we protect the rights of our people to express themselves as that's an essential aspect of democracy is about - freedom of speech. If we have issues we can report it to the Police or take civil legal action. " he said

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