28 Nov 2011

PNG newspaper fights defamation claim

11:24 am on 28 November 2011

Papua New Guinea's Post-Courier is fighting another defamation suit following the newspaper's report on a dispute between unhappy landowners and a logging company, in the West New Britain Province.

The logging company owner, Rimbunan Hijau Group, is suing the newspaper for defaming its corporate image by reporting police brutality on landowners allegedly orchestrated by the company.

The Editor, Blaise Nangoi, says in the past financial year, the Post-Courier paid about US$367,000 dollars in legal fees compared to an average annual $23,000 a few years before.

"For the past four/five years I think there has been a deliberate attempt to muzzle the media in PNG by using the law. We are unfortunately targeting people with deep pockets - one day it's going to send us bust. And I think it's a dangerous trend."

Mr Nangoi says he feels helpless having received no support from the PNG Media Council, and is looking to settle the suit outside of court.