PNG plans crack down on social media ‘fake news’ and ‘bad signals’

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By Gorethy Kenneth in Port Moresby

Cabinet will review social media platforms in Papua New Guinea when it convenes on Thursday, says Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

Speaking at Government House yesterday after announcing four new ministers and a mini reshuffle, O’Neill said the government would crack down on fake news that was being spread on social media.

He was adamant that the government would review social media platforms and this would be the first task of the new Communications and Information Technology Minister Koni Iguan.

READ MORE: PNG plans to shut down Facebook for a month

He said there was too much fake news that was sending bad signals and destroying the nation and its people and this must stop.

“Cabinet will have a complete review of social media in the country, led by Minister for Communications,” O’Neill said.

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“There is a lot of fake news destroying our people, destroying our society. We have lived without social media for thousands of years before.”

O’Neill said too much fake news and false information was being circulated which was destroying the government, the nation and its people.

Minister’s first task
“Government will review the social media platform and that will be the first task of the newly appointed Communication Minister,” O’Neill said.

“I want to assure you that the Communications Minister’s first responsibility will be to review that so we can make sure that the correct information and the truth are put forward to the nation so that they can be well informed on what is happening in the country.

“Fake news is destroying our country and recently one of our young people got murdered in Boroko because of fake news. This cannot continue, we must put an end to it so I want to assure you that cabinet at its first NEC (National Executive Council) meeting which will be held on Thursday we will look at how we can manage this going forward.”

O’Neill said that the Attorney-General had now been directed to make sure he brought the ICAC Bill to Parliament in the next session so that people are comforted on the fact that our government is working in making sure that this bill saw the light of the day.

“Our officials have been very slow, we are frustrated by that but I can assure you that we are trying to get it through on the floor of Parliament as quickly as possible so we can address some of the fake news and fake allegations that are going around in the country,” O’Neill said.

“It is our responsibility, the government’s responsibility, so we will review that so we can make sure that the correct information and the truth and facts put forward so everyone will be well informed of what is happening in the country.”

Gorethy Kenneth is a senior Post-Courier journalist.

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