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O'NEILL'S MEDIA TEAM OR THE FLOOZIE DOOZIES - NEVER TRUST THEM

by PNGBLOGS STAFF REPORTERS

Outlets like the Post-Courier, the National and EMTV are compromised from top to bottom by their own corruption and by fear of the O’Neill Regime’s standover tactics.

Some of their journalists are no better than the media prostitutes (the FLOOZIE DOOZIES) paid by Peter O’Neill to spread his word on social media.

My example will be the Post-Courier, the nation’s oldest surviving daily newspaper and for decades a paragon of media excellence, along with the NBC.

Today it is a shadow of its former self, its reputation in tatters and its circulation declining.

There are two aspects to the Post’s corruption - senior management interference in editorial on behalf of the O’Neill Regime, and journalistic corruption.

These aspects apply to other news outlets to different degrees and with different emphasis but with the same outcome.

The National and EMTV suffer more from management interference and the fear engendered by the O’Neill regime - personal physical fear and fear of forced takeover/regulation/closure.

O’Neill has made it perfectly and brutally clear to EMTV’s succession of owners that unless it does things his way, it will lose its broadcast licence. Now that it is owned by the Government, any deviation from the O’Neill media line is even less likely.

The Rimbunan Hijau-owned National, of course, is indebted to O’Neill for not fulfilling his promise to shut down all  SABLs, which have enriched the Prime Minister and many of his colleague Ministers.

General Manager Andy Ng prevents stories critical of Rimbunan Hijab from appearing in the paper, and if that cannot be avoided he twists them to suit RH. RH pays overseas timbert industry “analysts” to attack its opponents in print. Ng writes fake letters to the editor promoting RH and the O’Neill Regime.

Senior management of both outlets keep close watch on their newsrooms to enforce pro-PNC coverage.

At the Post, the rot begins with managing director Kevin Smith, who is a drinking buddy of PM O’Neill and his cronies and manipulates the news to suit.

He also ensures that dissenting voices are either banned from the Post, or given minimum coverage. Much of the decision-making about censoring editorial coverage opposing the O’Neill regime is made at the Bacchus Bar at Airways.

Some sources say journalists have been dismissed for writing stories unfavourable to O’Neill, or questioning the actions of his flunkies and business cronies - although Smith is careful to give other reasons for dismissal.

High-level sources say that in late 2011 Smith gave undertakings of favourable treatment of O’Neill during a meeting with Prime Ministerial crony and contract beneficiary Sir Theo Constantinou, and O’Neill in person.

It is not known whether such an agreements exists with the National, but it is unlikely given the hold O’Neill has over the company through SABLs and logging permits.

However such an agreement did exist between the National and the Somare Regime until its overthrow by O’Neill in 2011.

Both Arthur Somare and the family’s then media advisor Brian Gomez monitored the National’s editorial coverage, with Gomez physically being present in the newsroom and editing journalists’ copy at critical times.

Today Gomez is a media advisor to the Treasury, and is part of the O’Neill media mafia. He was formerly in charge of media at the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.

But as with other media outlets, the problem is greater than just Kevin Smith, Andy Ng, and a succession of compliant executives and editorial managers at EMTV such as former journalist Neville Choi.

The Post is not alone in its corruption but it is the worst, including in the newsroom.

Before I give details of newsroom corruption, It is important to state that not every journalist is corrupt and unethical.

There are many journalists committed to the public interest and the  truth, and they abide by their code of ethics. They fight the good fight.

An excellent example here is the struggle of NBC staff against the standover tactics of PMO media staff, officers of the Communications Department and Ministry, and political appointees in management.

I have been made aware that former NBC managing director Memafu Kapera, acting on behalf of PM O’Neill, conducted a heavy-handed campaign against the independence of his journalists, at times personally preventing anti-O’Neill stories from being aired in news bulletins.

Kapera has sacked and demoted journalists who stand firm for their ethics and their responsibility to the people and the nation.

There is a hard core of independent, professional and ethical journalists at the NBC, and supporting them and their ideals is THE test for new acting MD Kora Nou.

Mind you, the NBC is not immune from outbreaks of idiocy, as exemplified by this recent Facebook post by one senior journalist:

Rebecca Passingan
14 hrs ·

I pity those UPNG students who are crying foul over the media not giving prominence to their story. Who are you again???? You stop the media up until yesterday and then cry foul that your issue has not been given prominence? Ban the media and they (journalists) will enforce their gate keeping role and your story won't have any prominence. FYI, you may have Fb but you are NOTHING without the media. Because a huge percentage of the population still access the dailies and the radio networks for news.

Ms Passingan and her colleagues must understand that the media is not a personal tool of revenge for anti-media sentiments.

Threatening diminished coverage, or banning it entirely, just because someone has insulted your feelings is unethical and just as deplorable as banning sections of the media and burning newspapers in the first place.

To return to the example of the Post, it is now appropriate to focus our spotlight on the newsroom.

Its chief reporter, Gorethy Kenneth, has been the subject of rumour and innuendo on social media for a considerable period of time.

Public suspicions about her are demonstrably well-founded, despite her many protestations of innocence.

Kenneth has been a faithful servant of Prime Minister O’Neill and PNC for a very long time.

Here are some examples of how she cannot be relied upon to present fair and balanced stories:

She is a fund-raiser for PNC and the Prime Minister’s secret slush fund the PM O’Neill Foundation.

Most recently she was a ticket-seller for the PNC fund-raising this year, including pressuring shocked fellow journalists to buy tickets from her.

Journalists have complained to PNG Blogs about her activities.

Kenneth gets paid to run favourable stories. One senior Government MP boasted of that to PNG Blogs. One Governor confirmed that he did the same.

Kenneth is a regular at the PM’s Paddy’s Bar, where if she is short of cash she can put her drinks and pokies are on the tab (she is not the only Post journalist doing that).

Kenneth is the secret conduit between the Post and PM’s lawyers Tiffany Twivey and Cath Porter, chief of staff (now chief secretary)  Isaac Lupari, PMO media executive Daniel Korimbao and the rest of the PM’s flunkies and spin doctors.

Information given to her publicly and even privately by unsuspecting contacts is passed to PM’s Office. PMO even writes stories for her to run.

Post chief of Staff Isaac Nicholas is another corrupt journalist, an expert exponent of the “lunch money” brand of bribe-taking.

While he was covering politics last year he became famous during parliamentary sitting weeks for fronting up to PM’s Office and asking for “lunch money” for his colleagues.

Hundreds of kina changes hands, usually through chief of Staff Isaac Lupari. A few kina goes towards lunch for himself and other reporters, the rest stays in his pocket.

Nicholas, along with other Post editorial staff such as editor Todagia Kelola, is another regular visitor to Paddy’s Bar where they also get special treatment.

Other journalists have revealed that former Post chief of staffs and chief sub-editors have been bribed for favourable coverage by lawyers representing the Prime Minister. The lawyer in question has confirmed this in email and txt exchanges leaked to PNG Blogs

Stories that are not on the Posts’s daily news list mysteriously appear in the next day’s newspaper, and letters get replaced.

One former senior reporter told PNG Blogs about mysterious night-time visits to the Post offices by twin-cabs and Troopies with tinted windows, and meetings between the occupants and PC editorial staff, where cash would change hands.

It is widely known amongst politicians and their cronies that the Post Letters pages are available to the highest bidder. K50 will get you the lead letter.

Another source recently told PNG Blogs of a PC journo, and others, lining up at Dream Inn recently to receive cartons of beer for favourable coverage from yet another MP following the passing of the Manam Island Resettlement Bill.

It is easy to see why students and others, including prominent Opposition MPs such as Gary Juffa and Sam Basil and many members of the public, do not trust the media.

The O’Neill Regime has a vast media machine, consisting of people in his own office, foreign consultants, Facebook trolls, staff in the Department and Ministry of Communications, the government newspaper and many others hidden away in Government departments, State Enterprises and semi-government authorities.

O’Neill’s Spin King is Daniel Korimbao, who works closely with Isaac Lupari and together launder their money in Australia (the Cairns Casino) and other lax jurisdictions such as Fiji.

Korimbao, formerly a corrupt journalist and editor at the National, was a major player in the Paraka scandal over which the Prime Minister has been charged.

The incriminating letter was signed by the Prime Minister himself on or about the 24th of January 2012 at the Airways hotel.

The letter was co-authored by Korimbao, Minister Ben Micah and Paul Paraka, and taken to Airways about 2.00pm for signing by the PM.

Also present were  Jimmy Maladina, O’Neill’s main partner in crime, Chris Haiveta, former corrupt politician and new political fixer, and Sir Theo Constantinou, O’Neill crony and owner of the Airways.

Haiveta has claimed privately that he opposed the signing of the letter, knowing the risks it posed for the PM, and later attempted to retrieve all copies.

Many people, including Korimbao, received large cash and in-kind payments from Paraka both directly and indirectly. Korimbao’s present was a house in Fiji.

Another major player is Chris Hawkins, formerly in charge of media for the corrupt Skate Regime.

Hawkins has been paid millions of kina out of the public purse to provide media communications strategy and advice to the O’Neill Regime.

Now Hawkins has been put in charge of the APEC event in 2018, where he will have approximately K3 billion of public funds at his disposal.

More prominent in O’Neill’s media mix are his so-called Facebook Floozie Doozies, Susan Merrell, Tiffany Twivey, Cath Porter and Sonja Barry Ramoi.

These media prostitutes get paid handsomely to do their dirty work - sometimes by cash in the hand, sometimes through crooked contracts, sometimes through payment in kind, and sometimes through third parties.

As with Hawkins, all of the many millions they have been paid is taxpayers’ funds.

Merrell and Ramoi do most of O’Neill’s dirty work on social media, assisted by Twivey and Porter.

Twivey is one of O’Neill’s leading lawyers and has recently been charged with perverting the course of justice, and further charges are likely.

Others involved on the sidelines of O’Neill’s media and communications network include Nii Cragnolini and Michele Monsour, who assist with corporate relationships, and engage in fund-raising, money-laundering and other behind-the-scenes activities.

Other O’Neill business cronies wine and dine journalists and media executives and provide them with free trips and accommodation and other payments in kind.

It can be seen from this that the O’Neill Regime exercises effective control over the media in many diverse ways, direct and indirect.

The media is a pillar of a strong free and fair society, yet it receives neither support for its independence and integrity nor constructive criticism of its obvious failings.

Professional and ethical journalists are fighting an uneven battle against well-financed and powerful interests promoting corruption, against political interference and against intimidation (including physical assaults on the media).

They get little to no support from institutions that could help them defend themselves such as Transparency International and the Community Coalition Against Corruption. The Media Council, even now that it is not corrupt, is a toothless tiger as well.

It should not surprise anyone that students are burning piles of daily newspapers at UPNG and elsewhere.

Nor should it be surprising that they should discuss banning the National, the Post and EMTV from their campus, and call on the international media instead as their last big hope.


The media has failed society, and society has failed the media.