Referendum info via mobile phones

Bougainvilleans can listen to Bougainville Peace Agreement and referendum information using their mobile phones.

The Autonomous Bougainville Government is set to trial a new mobile phone awareness platform to provide people up to date information on the referendum and Peace Agreement.

For eight weeks starting September 22nd, Digicel users across Bougainville will receive an automated call from the ABG BPA Hotline with a recorded message from the ABG President, Chief Dr John Momis.

A number will then be provided for people to call and hear pre-recorded audio messages – and it is free.

Acting Chief Secretary Thomas Raivet said people have told government that they want information to be given out through their mobile phones.

“A recent Bougainville audience survey found that more people have access to a mobile phone than radio, newspaper or TV. That’s why we are trialling this new mobile phone awareness to prepare our people for referendum and beyond,” said Raivet.

ABG Media and Communications Director, Adriana Schmidt, said the service is being trialled for the first time in Bougainville and urged all who have access to mobile phones to utilise this free information service.

“Calling this number is free, and will give you a choice of four different audio messages on Peacebuilding, Autonomy, Weapons Disposal and Referendum. We want to ensure people have access to approved government information,” she said.

The information is based on the Joint Referendum Key Messages agreed to by both governments in June 2018.

The recent Bougainville Audience Study found that across Bougainville, three out of every four adults had access to a mobile phone, with equal numbers in north, central and south regions. However, credit was a key issue for phone users and so with the support of development partners, the ABG is making the ABG BPA Hotline a free service.

The referendum awareness initiative is supported by the Australian and New Zealand governments in partnership with the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Government of Papua New Guinea.

Press release