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RNZ Pacific

As the Papua New Guinea elections approach next month there are increasing worries about the spreading of false information.

The poll begins on July 2 and is set to conclude three weeks later on July 22.

RNZ Pacific’s PNG correspondent Scott Waide said that while misinformation during elections was not new, it appeared to be more coordinated and managed during this election.

Waide runs classes on identifying misinformation and malinformation — which is information that is correct but is used to inflict harm.

He said one item that appeared on social media, and which he has used in his classes, was a false claim that the incumbent in the Bougainville regional seat, Peter Tsiamalili, had been shot dead.

He said even past information is being used to deceive.

“Another instance is of an [alleged] photo of candidates Sylvia Pascoe and Gary Juffa, a very intimate photograph of them — they had a relationship before,” he said.

“So, this photo is coming out on the eve of polling, being spread by people with intentions to destroy their integrity and their chances of political office.”

Police investigating discovery of uniforms
Meanwhile, the police are investigating the discovery of police and PNG defence uniforms on a chartered flight to Hela Province.

Police Commissioner David Manning said security forces intercepted and confiscated the uniforms on the flight from Port Moresby to Komo Airport in Hela.

Manning said a pistol found on a person who was meeting the flight had been confiscated.

He said police were trying to uncover who chartered the aircraft and what role the ground staff at the airport played.

Last week, a Highlands police commander issued instructions to the public to look out for people masquerading as police officers during the general elections.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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