5 January 1998


ABC Papua New Guinea reporter tells of intimidation, praises local media

Incident details

Sean Dorney



(PINA/IFEX) - Sean Dorney, the Papua New Guinea bureau chief of
the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), says his network
has recently received "verbal intimidation" from supporters of
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Bill Skate in Port Moresby.
Dorney says Prime Minister Skate "continuously attacked" the ABC
during a Christmas tour of the civil-war-torn Papua New Guinea
island of Bougainville. Such attacks follow the network's airing
in Australia of secretly recorded tapes alleging Skate's
involvement in corruption and violence. In these tapes, Skate is
said to have described how his supporters killed a man who
threatened him.

Dorney is a respected veteran reporter of Papua New Guinean
affairs and works for both ABC Radio and Television and Radio
Australia. His allegations of "verbal intimidation" were
included in an end-of-year review broadcast on ABC Radio in
Australia after he returned from Bougainville, where he had been
reporting on Skate's visit. In his broadcast, Dorney praised the
Papua New Guinea media, describing their efforts during the tapes
scandal as "lively and accurate." He described the reporting of
several news agencies, including daily newspapers like "The
National" and "Papua New Guinea Post-Courier", weekly papers such
as "Wantok" and "The Independent", the non-government radio
stations "Yumi FM" and "NauFM", and "EM TV", as "competitive."
In the same report, he criticized the government-controlled
National Broadcasting Corporation's coverage. He complained that
their efforts to report on corruption were "terribly intimidated"
by the Papua New Guinea government.


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