1 Mar 2012

PNG social media curbs seen as totalitarian

3:50 pm on 1 March 2012

The executive director of the Papua New Guinea Institute of National Affairs says government attempts to rein in social media are chilling and reminiscent of what would happen in a totalitarian state.

The chief of staff in the prime minister's office, Ben Micah, says people who spread what he calls subversive material on the internet and through mobile phones are being investigated.

The Institute's Paul Barker says there have been occasions in the recent political turmoil when malicious or misleading information may have been made public.

But he says if there are concerns people can use the country's slander and libel laws.

"And if clearly defamatory statements are being made, well people can take legal action to address it. Certainly having effectively threats of a range of state institutions probing private or public internet sites or dialogues on Facebook or SMS or whatever, would seem to be going overboard."

Paul Barker of the Papua New Guinea Institute of National Affairs