Alleged FB ban bad news: Fr Victor

General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and the Solomon Islands, Father Victor Roche, has termed the alleged closure of Facebook as bad news.

In a press briefing today, Father Victor said it is sad that people defame leaders and others through social media.

However, he believes the Minister for Communication should take action through legal means rather than attempt to ban Facebook or social media.

He says this is a time Papua New Guinea wants to showcase itself to other member countries of APEC, to show that we are up-to-date with development and human rights.

Minister Sam Basil’s plan to shut down Facebook follows rising concerns about social well-being, security and productivity.

However, Father Victor’s sentiment has been voiced by thousands of other Papua New Guinean FB users, apart from the vocal Madang MP, Bryan Kramer.

The ban would mean a deprivation of the rights of the majority of users to stay informed, be connected with family and friends and establish business connections, among others, just because a minority is abusing the privilege.

In a statement released this afternoon, the Media Council of PNG said “any attempt to censor, curb, or restrict our people’s protected right to freedom of expression in any form, is an attack against our freedom as the media”.

Meantime, Dr Aim Sinpeng, an expert in digital media and politics from the University of Sydney, told The Guardian: “One month is an interesting time limit for a ban, I am not exactly sure what they think they can achieve, and why a ban is necessary.

“You can do Facebook analysis without it. And what data are the government collecting? If they are concerned about fake news there are many ways to do it without issuing a ban on a platform.”

(File picture of Father Victor Roche)

Carmella Gware