15 Sep 2016

PNG cyber-crime laws dampen public discussion

7:55 pm on 15 September 2016

Papua New Guinea's new cyber-crime laws are already having a dampening effect on social media in the country.

This is according to the founder of one of the first public Facebook groups "PNG Sharptalk" which has just over 26,400 active members.

On 11th August PNG's parliament passed the Cybercrime Bill, aiming to control activities like spam, hacking, forgery and computer fraud.

Douveri Henao supports having rules and guidelines for social media engagement, but he says since the legislation was passed there has been a noticeable change in the way people engage online.

Mr Henao said this is particularly true for social media pages which previously gave free rein to members voicing their frustrations.

"I have seen a bit of a scale down on that there was also a page that was pre Facebook and they've had to remove a significant amount of their content probably triggered because of the legislation so yes there is a much more conscious use of these social media pages that I've seen in the past three, four weeks."

Mr Henao's own Facebook forum PNG Sharptalk now has a disclaimer at the top of the page warning contributors about the new laws which could potentially expose it administrators to criminal defamation charges.