Papua New Guinea’s National Media Development Policy is going through the Social, Law and Order Sector Heads vetting and clearance process before it is presented to Papua New Guinea Cabinet for endorsement.

Information and Communications Technology Minister Timothy Masiu said this when refuting claims by Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill that journalists would be jailed if found to be misreporting.

Masiu said: “I have not seen anything in the policy that states a person or journalists will be jailed if there is misreporting.

“We are now continuing the consultation process through the relevant state agencies to ensure we don’t stray away from government policy and the spirit of the constitution of the country. Therefore, we don’t intend to jail people.

“Please see the department website https: to read the policy .”

Masiu said O’Neill must not mislead the people as this was clearly politicking at a time when the Prime Minister is visiting Australia and when there was talk of a vote of no confidence.

He said on the contrary, the policy aimed to support the media industry to become more professional, ensure that journalists were trained well, establish a clearly defined self-regulatory process for the media, become more accountable and responsible to their code of ethics and conduct.

“I repeat what I stated recently that we do not want to tighten up on media but we want to make sure reporters are responsible for what they report and will emphasise on media quality accessibility and responsibility to information dissemination based on facts,” Masiu said.

“The policy will put in place the self-regulatory process and this process will determine the accountability of the media to be discussed further by stakeholders including the media fraternity.

He said the Department of ICT had conducted extensive consultation and the general response was for a clear policy direction to address media quality, journalist welfare and profession and strengthen self- regulation as the key focus of the policy.

“The policy is on the Department’s website and I welcome the member for Ialibu-Pangia to see for himself the policy and for others to also peruse.

“There is no attempt to curb media and the freedom of speech,” he said.