The honourable Timothy Masiu, Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Information and Communications Technology, delivered the keynote speech during the high-level seminar on Media Literacy organised jointly by AIBD and the Delegation of the European Union to Malaysia.
Emphasising the opportunities as well as the challenges of the digital age, especially the rise of misinformation on non-traditional media, Honrable Minister Masiu stated, ““The rapid flow of information in the digital age can easily be altered to become misinformation or disinformation.”. Sharing his insights in reference to PNG’s recent ICT development, he also mentioned that, “While mobile broadband penetration in Papua New Guinea has skyrocketed to 78% in just four years, the exponential flow of information has also paved the way for the spread of misinformation and disinformation.”
The Honourable Minister highlighted his ministry’s initiatives to combat various digital challenges. One such initiative is a dedicated social media management desk tasked with monitoring online narratives and identifying and taking down fake government profiles used to spread misinformation. “Over 3,000 of these malicious accounts have been deactivated already,” the minister revealed.
The PNG Government is also formulating a comprehensive National Media Development Policy aimed at uplifting media standards, ensuring information accuracy, and cultivating responsible journalism practices.
However, the minister asserted that national policies need to be complemented by strengthened regional cooperation among media regulators and policymakers.
“The borderless nature of the news and social media landscape necessitates coordinated regional action to promote public awareness of disinformation risks,” he emphasised.
Applauding the AIBD-EU collaborative platform, Minister Masiu concluded that “building on such partnerships, we can empower media stakeholders across the Asia-Pacific to guard our democracies against the viral spread of online falsehoods.”
The one-day seminar brought together over 75 media practitioners, policymakers, and civil society actors from Malaysia, along with diplomats from various countries, to develop practical strategies and joint commitments to tackling disinformation threats.