Pacific colleagues call for justice

Pacific media colleagues are calling for justice and due process of law to prevail after shock revelations at the funeral service of a senior Papua New Guinea journalist.

Post-Courier business editor Rosalyn Albaniel Evara reportedly passed away on Sunday October 15 after complaining of head pains.

But information and a testimony given by an outraged relative during her funeral service in Port Moresby on Monday, October 23, revealed a pattern of marital abuse inflicted on the 41-year-old mother.

“We welcome a move by police to halt the burial of our colleague and an order seeking a post-mortem be carried out,” says Pacific Freedom Forum Chair, Monica Miller.

PFF also paid tribute to the bravery of her family in raising allegations before it was too late.

In her tribute, the editor’s paternal aunt, Mary Albaniel, warned viewers with children before she showed graphic images of trauma and bruising to her niece’s torso and neck. Relatives also wore orange and black t-shirts against Gender-Based Violence, supporting the tribute to Rosalyn. A mother of three, Rosalyn had lost two sons to a rare congenital illness in the last two years. She is survived by her daughter Janelle and her husband, Warren Evara.

“We urge the family to ensure justice for Rosalyn and her daughter by restoring truth to the pain of this loss, and allowing an official complaint to proceed as well as the necessary post mortem findings to be investigated.

“PFF especially urges Police to respect their duty to uphold the rule of law as a blatant crime has stolen a mother from her child, a woman from her family, a professional from her industry, and a citizen from her nation.”

Speaking from American Samoa, Miller says an official investigation would allow justice to do its work, and clear up allegations involving her family.

“We ask all the family to please assist and not impede any police investigation. Surely the greatest protection for Rosalyn’s daughter at this time would be to have the government and law of PNG on her side and the side of her late mother. We have to ensure the best interests of a child are served through knowledge that justice has prevailed, rather than that it has failed.”

PFF also sees the unnecessary and criminal death of our colleague as a wake-up call to the news media industry.

“Not just the Post-Courier staffers who lived in the same compound where our wantok Rosalyn lived and died, but the News Corporation management in Sydney, the Australian shareholders of Post-Courier —and all our Pacific newsrooms must ask the questions that matter.

“Where are we when our female colleagues are bearing the emotional and physical wounds of violence and abuse in their homes? We must also question our own ethics when we justify, rationalise and basically get in the way of justice being served.”

Co-chairs Alexander Rheeney of PNG and Bernadette Carreon of Palau have also backed the leadership call for the Post-Courier to run its internal investigation and provide a report not only for readers, but to the relevant authorities.

Miller says: “So much more could and should have been done to protect Rosalyn especially given the level of knowledge over her domestic situation.

“More education and awareness is OK, but needs to be applied in a strong zero-tolerance environment.

“I know my co-chairs and Pacific media colleagues join me in our tribute to a fantastic woman and friend who has, sadly, become the latest fatality in this epidemic of violence in our homes.”

(The late Rosalyn Abaniel Evara, lower left, takes notes as a FFA media fellow during events surrounding the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Commission – Photo / FFA Forum Fisheries Agency)

Press Release