Media Industry in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has the largest and most active media industry in the Pacific Islands region. With more than 800 languages, most people speak Tok Pisin, and a smaller number understand English and Motu – these are the official languages.

Section 46 of the Constitution provides that ‘every person has the right to freedom of expression and publication’. This includes (s.46(2)(a)) the freedom to hold opinions, to receive ideas and information and to communicate ideas and information, whether to the public generally or to a person or class of persons; and (s.46(2)(b)) freedom of the press and other mass communications media.

Radio is the only national medium. Newspapers, television, online and other media are mainly found in urban centres where services, such as electricity and internet, are more widely available.

The state-run National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) operates a national radio service, NBC TV and it has radio stations in almost every province, broadcasting in Tok Pisin or Motu and, in places, local languages.

Private media includes two weekly newspapers (The National, owned by Rimbunan Hijau, a Malaysian logging company; and the Post Courier, owned by News Corp) which publish Monday to Friday; and the weekly newspapers, Sunday Chronicle (locally owned) and Wantok Niuspepa (owned by Word Publishing, a faith-based group and published in Tok Pisin).

Private TV stations include EMTV, TV Wan and PNG TV (Click TV). There are a number of private radio stations.

Social media is growing. The mainstream media also have online branches. Other outlets include PNG Loop News, PNG News Page, PNG Blog, PNG News Online, Facebook pages and other platforms. Some international media cover PNG on a regular basis, but the only resident overseas correspondent is with ABC Australia.

The National Information Communications Technology Authority (NICTA) was quoted in May 2016 as estimating 900,000 internet users, and 3.3 million mobile phones in a population of eight million. One of PNG’s major political parties noted its Facebook Group page had gone from 5,000 subscribers in 2012 to over 80,000 in 2017.

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