The passing of PNG Media icon Oseah Philemon on Christmas eve is a major shock to the industry and to many who also knew him in his profession as a journalist.
The PNG Media was still reeling earlier on in the week when another PNG Media maestro Susuve Laumaea passed on too.
The Media industry has been left to mourn the passing of two of its major pillars who upheld the tenets of journalism from its typewriter and recorder days until today.
As Chief Editor and New Director, I convey condolence on behalf of Loop PNG newsroom to the family and relatives of late Susuve Laumaea and Oseah Philemon.
Oseah Philemon was a journalist at heart and loved what he did. He was passionate and meticulous. He just loved to write. Journalism was his life.
As Editor of Post-Courier he helped to mentor and develop many young journalists.
I was one of them.
Oseah hired me as a sub-editor. After a month at work I decided to skip work, because the formation of government was taking place at Parliament. Those were exciting times. I had tipped a certain person to be voted in as PM. That person took the seat. I decided to party and not go to work that day.
When I arrived at work at 2pm the next day. Late Blaise Nangoi who was General Manager then, another great colleague, came down, rolled the whites of his eyes at me and said with a wink and smile that spelled trouble… go in and see that ‘Big man’.
“Close the door, Oseah bellowed.” I did. Then he cut me down size.
“If you want to work for that Prime Minister, (he shouted the name) then go and work for him. Get out of my office….!”
There was one thing about this Morobean or Ahi man, he was a straight shooter. He did not pull his punches. He said it straight like he wrote it.
My pride screamed at me to walk out. But I listen to my inner spirit…stay loyal.
I stayed loyal to Oseah Philemon and the Post –Courier for 17 years until I left in November 30 2015.
I worked under four editors of Post-Courier in my time – The late two, Oseah Philemon and Blaise Nangoi and then Alexander Rheeney and Todagia Kelola - all great leaders of the Post-Courier.
Oseah Philemon, had another side. He was always happy and had a great sense of humour.
“He had a big laugh. When he laughed, it was like the whole world would hear it. It was more like a roar and you could feel that he was enjoying himself.”
While Oseah was a Post-Courier man, he was a nationalist at heart. I give credit and acknowledge one major project which he spearheaded under Post-Courier which was the Gun Control Committee campaign. This committee was later endorsed by the Government of the day.
He travelled extensively throughout the country advocating the dangers of illegal firearms and that it was everyones business to help stem the tide of illegal firearms getting into the hands of wrong people.
A report was compiled by the Gun Control Committee with recommendation to the Government. To this day it remains a report in the corridors of power in Waigani.
This recommendation of this report will surely come in handy with the 2017 National General Elections at hand.
There were other national campaigns which Oseah carried while Editor of Post-Courier. He was the voice in the PNG Media Council advocating Freedom of the Press. He was the chairman of the council at one stage and never backed down in advocating that the media needed to be free to report without fear or favour.
He supported NGO’s and community groups and the Post-Courier gave free space to promote their programs.
Oseah Philemon took journalism to the limit and never back down until his untimely death.
I received a message from Todagia Kelola who is Post-Courier Editor, while I was at Christmas Day Service at Holy Family Anglican Church, of which I am chairman informing me that Oseah Philemon has passed away on Christmas Eve.
I said Lord… I just said Lord…!
Thank you Oseah for giving me a chance to work at PNG’s Number One Daily during that period.
I was down, but you gave me a second chance to rise up again and aspire and ascend.
You will surely be missed as a name synonymous to positive, thriving and investigative journalism in PNG.
May your spirit rest in peace my brother.
Picture: The late Oseah Philemon – photo courtesy Post-Courier