Health Minister restricts media access

Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS, Sir Puka Temu, has restricted health officials in releasing media statements.

In a circular number 66/2017 dated on August 15, 2017, Sir Puka said recent media statements released by health officials have created fear amongst the community.

He said such statements have not been reported out of proportion without careful thought and sufficient evidence.

"This has tarnished and defamed a lot of personal at all health levels.

"I now instruct and direct that no individual health worker or chief executive officer or management and boards at all levels shall provide any information of health matters and/or issues, to any means of media.

"This should only be made by the office of the Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS," Sir Puka directed.

However Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has condemned such circular as it effectively gags public servants within the Department from speaking to the Media about aspects of their work.

"This directive stifles public discourse, violates values enshrined in our National Constitution, and creates an environment of fear when frank discussion is most needed."

TIPNG said health professionals and other civil servants need protection when they raise issues of national concern, such as the K56m recently paid to the disreputable Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals.

"This circular is clearly a step in the wrong direction."

Freddy Mou