An EMTV worker behind the scenes. Photo / EMTV
PFF Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS Thursday 12 June-- Pacific media colleagues have condemned a Police attack this week on two Television camera crew as 'senseless and cowardly' and called for a swift investigation into the matter.
TV station EMTV News Manager, Sincha Dimara said the crew had been in 15-Mile on June 9th following up on reports that police had used knives to jab and poke five male youths over land disputes.
In the midst of their filming, Police nearby rushed the group, manhandled reporter Quniton Alomp and camera operator Gesoko Adrian, and locked them in the local police post without charges.
During their time at the Post, Adrian was punched to the side of his head by a station guard. Dimara reported the men were forced to delete all their footage and tear out their note pages for the story.
The EMTV company driver raised the alarm with station management and calls were made to Central Police bosses who ordered the release of the media workers.
It's also been reported a formal complaint has since been lodged with Police.
"Regional media colleagues condemn the attack, and seek an open, independant inquiry into the matter. It's important for public confidence the perpetrators of this senseless and cowardly abuse of their positions be brought to account without delay," says PFF Chair Titi Gabi of PNG.
"Without swift and decisive Police action, the culture of impunity surrounding illegal, threatening and abusive behaviour by the paid enforcers of law and order against those serving the same public interest, will continue."
From American Samoa, PFF co-chair Monica Miller says it's important the Police handle the crisis of credibilit this and previous actions against media creates.
"Ironically, the allegations of Police abuse against citizens which the crew were investigating, became their own real-life story. It is important that Police forces and media use this sad incident as an opportunity to come together and overcome the ignorance which led to this situation."
She says the assault sets a 'frightening' precedent of attacks clamping down on media and the public interest.
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PFF Chair Titi Gabi | Freelance Journalist | Papua New Guinea Mail: PO Box 7776, Boroko, NCD, Papua New Guinea | Mob: (675) 7314 3929 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PFF co-Chair Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa Mob 684 258-4197 | Office 684 633-7793 | Email: email@example.com
The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media. We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance. In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.