2 Jun 2003

Newspaper close down will have impact on journalism in PNG

5:12 pm on 2 June 2003

Papua New Guinea's Media Council says the closure of the country's longest running newspaper, the Independent, will impact on the quality of journalism in PNG.

The Independent's management announced that it will close down this week after 23 years, leaving 40 staff without jobs.

The Council's Chairman, Peter Aitsi, says the church-backed Word Publishing Group decided to close down the paper after its German sponsors withdrew their support.

He says the closure will leave a vacuum.

"The Independent played a role whereby the reporters would look at the issues with greater depth and unfortunately the daily newspapers because of the nature of the news that they cover and obviously a daily publication doesn't allow for that focus on specific issues and the development of the following of news issues and the level of investigations that it needs to bring the facts of items to the surface, so that's the area that will be impacted on"

Peter Aitsi, PNG's Media Council.

The last edition of the Independent will appear on Thursday but its sister newspaper, the Tok Pisin Wantok, will continue to be published.