Serious concerns raised over newspaper article

The Department for Community Development & Religion has raised serious concerns regarding an article published by one of the dailies on Friday.

Titled “Missing K3.2m derails child protection effort”, the article said the child protection project, under the integrated community development scheme of the Department of Religion, Youth and Community Development, had ceased operations for lack of funds.

According to the news report, while K3.2 million was allocated in the 2017 Budget, efforts to find traces of tangible outcomes of this multimillion kina child protection project were in vain.

“The story implies that the Department for Community Development was responsible for this fund through its integrated community development scheme,” says Secretary Anna Solomon.

“This is totally misleading. We would like to know where the reporter got his stories and facts from.

“As per the 2017 Budget books, the integrated community development program was never funded.

“Our development budget records for 2017 indicate we were allocated only K1.5m PIP funding for all programs under Social Protection.

“The K3.2m referred to herein is a non cash donor fund highlighted in the development budget book but administered entirely by (Australia’s) Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade without any cash transfers to the department.”

The Department, as the legally mandated Government agency on child protection issues, said it would also like to hear from the donors on how this K3.2 million was expended.

They pointed out that donor partners have been running parallel programs without working with and through the legally mandated Government agency.

“The Department and Government is unable to track the outcomes of this funding as it was expended entirely within the discretion of Ausaid Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and its partners, most of whom are NGOs,” stated Secretary Solomon.  

“At the end of the day and as the mandated Government agency, my Minister must report back to Parliament on our coordinated efforts towards child protection in Papua New Guinea. But how can he do that when partners are working outside of established Government systems?”

Solomon further said the reporter failed to exercise due diligence and care when reporting stories involving large amounts of money.

“We are assuming (named) reporter does not understand the donor funding protocols and the best thing he should have done was verify this information with the Department before putting his story out.

“We are no fan of reporters trying to verify stories after the story has been put out.

“Minister Soroi Eoe and I are very disappointed over the misreporting as such reports hurt the good progress the government has made in terms of child protection.”

As a result, Minister Soroi Eoe and Secretary Solomon have demanded immediate remedial actions to be taken to correct the negative public perception formed due to the misreporting.

  • Retract the story and re-publish based on the facts attached
  • Put out a front page apology to the Department
  • Put reporter on notice for misreporting, copy Minister Eoe

(Loop file pic of Secretary Anna Solomon and Minister Soroi Eoe)

Press release