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Published in The National on December 5, 2000

K1,000 tasol

LENA LIEW emerges from a seminar for first-time stock investors all excited.

IF those who got burnt by the controversial fast money schemes last year had instead used that money to buy shares in listed companies, today, they would not be crying over spilt milk.
If they had invested in shares instead of in confidence tricksters and rumours, they would have effectively owned part of a business that is actively operating in PNG, save for the future, and contribute to the country's economy.

Best of all, they would be able to see their money back anytime (given some profit or loss). As well, they would have had some authority to turn to if they had been cheated.

For three hours, on Tuesday, these thoughts kept running through my head as I sat in the boardroom of the Port Moresby Stock Exchange Ltd (Pomsox), learning "how to invest in shares" together with three other women and 11 men.

Suddenly, I am seeing the business and stocks pages in the newspapers in a whole new light. They are no longer boring figures and details with terms and names, far removed from my ordinary life.

I couldn't have spent K50 better - thanks, to the well-structured and effectively delivered presentations by acting Pomsox General Manager - Emily George Taule; Pomsox Market Controller - Evangeline Taunao; Pomsox Administration Manager - Dika Bogana-Kila, Kina Securities Ltd (Kina) client advisor Brendan Bure and Kina Group General Manager - Syd Yates, who is also a director of the Pomsox by virtue of Kina being one of the three shareholder of Pomsox.

I learnt that due to strict rules and regulations dictated by Acts of Parliament to ensure that investors are protected, stock brokers contribute to something called a "Fidelity Fund" as a condition for their membership in the Pomsox. And by law, that Fund must contain AT LEAST K500,000 - it could be more if the authorities deem fit.

In context, stockbrokers must be members of the Pomsox - a market place for them to operate as agents of individual or group investors engaging in the purchase or sale of shares of listed companies.

As such, if any one of them goes bust for whatever reason, all funds outstanding in relation to the wound-up broker will be furnished from the Fidelity Fund. There certainly was no such guarantee with the fast money schemes.

And for all the money those fast money scheme investors put in, they still had no say in how their money was being used by the fast money operators or how the scheme was being run or controlled.

By purchasing shares in a listed company through bona fide, licenced stock brokers, investors become part owners of the company, giving them the right to be a part of democratic decision-making, sometimes as far up as board level.

You would get to sit in at the company's annual general meeting to raise issues of concern, have access to details of the company's profits and losses, operations, future plans, directors ... and even have a say in sacking a particular director (if you manage to muster enough "power" through the number of shares you hold or influence)!

Over the long term, stock holdings yield more returns than most other forms of investments. When a company you invested in hits good times, its share value increase. If you had earlier bought the shares at a lower price, you stand to make a profit by selling some or all of those shares.

In the short term, this is how overnight millionaires are made ... share prices of good "blue chip" companies (like privatised utility providers) have been known to double or triple in value in a short time. Especially if you bought newly "floated" shares. That's certainly an easy way to make a living, really, if you have the capital to begin with.

In the long term, investing in shares protects you against inflation. "Capital growth" in your share holdings will help to keep you ahead of inflation as shares in a company usually become more valuable as a company grows and becomes more profitable over time.

Also, when you invest in shares, you are entitled to dividends at least once a year as decided by the company's board of directors.

Dividends are a share of profits given out to shareholders according to the number of shares they own. Naturally, the company must have made profit that year, and the board of directors must have decided to pay out dividends instead of putting the profits back into expanding the company.

And as mentioned above, share holdings gives you the right to have a say in the running of the company at least once a year - during its annual general meeting. Relate this to voting in, or out, a director of the company.

A wonderful analogy given by Kina client advisor Mr Bure: "Each time you vote a government in, and you are not happy with how they are running the country, you have to wait another four or five years before you get to vote them out!"

In a most democratic sense, one ordinary share is worth one vote. The more shares you own, the more weight your vote carries.

If you are still not happy with how things are going in the company, then sell your shares! Hopefully you make a profit.

Pity, no good thing ever comes for free.

Along with the benefits of investing in shares come risks. First of all, share prices are constantly fluctuating due to the mechanics of demand and supply.

The more people want to buy the shares of a particular company the higher the share price. The opposite then holds true.

Shares in a particular company are desirable if the company has a good reputation, is making profits, expanding, or has just found a new source of income (for example, an oil mining company finds a new source of oil).

The actual workings of the demand and supply of shares and share prices, along with the purchases and sales transacted are computerised.

Realise then that when you place an order with your broker to buy shares at a price which you are willing to pay at the time, you are not buying them >from the broker. You are actually telling your stockbroker that you want to buy shares from investors who currently own them. Therefore, the transaction can only conclude if someone wishes to sell at that price.

The Port Moresby Electronic Trading System (PETS) matches buying and selling orders based on the price offered at a particular time they were entered.

Thus your order may be filled while you wait at the phone, or not at all.

The second risk is the risk of a particular company winding up or going bankrupt. Then the shareholder loses all the money they spent buying shares of that company.

Fortunately this very rarely happens; because in order to get listed on the stock exchange, companies must meet very stringent requirements and tests to ensure that it is a viable business that is safe for the public to invest in.

This underlies another fundamental principal in life: Don't put all you eggs in one basket. Spread your investment out between two or more companies. On a larger scale, it will even safer if you spread your investments over companies in different industries.

Naturally, with greater risk comes greater returns ... or greater loss.

All too easily, investors get carried away in the gamble and end up losing all their hard-earned money. Worse if they borrowed money to invest in a big way.

Also, once you own shares in a particular company, don't forget to keep track of "your company's" performance through the newspapers' business and stocks pages. You should also keep an eye open for potential investments.

According to Pomsox's Mrs Taule, more awareness seminars are slated to be held in Port Moresby and in the provincial centres beginning of next year.

"Response to our seminars and FM100 talkback shows has been very good. Especially from our talkback programs. Many people have called up Pomsox to make further queries after learning a thing or two from our radio programs."

After all, radio is PNG's post powerful medium of disseminating information.

Many potential investors have also been driven to become actual investors following exposure to Pomsox seminars, says market controller Ms Taunao.

And stockbrokers Kina and Capital Stockbrokers Ltd have also received an increased number of queries. All you need is a minimum of K1,000 to start investing in shares through an account with the stockbrokers. Good luck!

Those interested may contact Pomsox for its booklet "Investing in shares".

Better still, purchase a comprehensive set of seminar notes at the price of K40 ... minus the benefit of stimulating interaction with the seminar speakers.

Pomsox can be contacted at Level 4, Defens Haus, Cnr Hunter Street and Champion Parade. Port Moresby (Tel: 3201980/ Fax: 3201981) or at www.pomsox.com.pg.

Kina Securities Ltd is at level 2, Deloitte Touche Tower, Douglas Street.

Port Moresby (Tel: 3083825/ Fax: 3083899) or at www.kina.com.pg.

Capital Stockbrokers Ltd is at Level 2, CDC Haus, Macgregor Street, Port Moresby (Tel: 3214333/ Fax: 3214577).


 

 

 

Media Freedom - a Papua New Guinean perspective (published in the May issue of Asian Women Online)

Celebrating media freedom in PNG

Enthralled by her experience working in PNG, LENA LIEW tries to suss out the Papua New Guinean psyche on media freedom.

As my colleagues the world over mark Media Freedom Day with criticisms and appeals for more media freedom - from governments, politics and commercial interests - I feel compelled to present a slightly different take on the issue. After all, how many of us have had the privilege to practise journalism in a poor developing country with a wonderfully free media?


Context

I work as a sub-editor in a nationally distributed English language daily in Papua New Guinea. In the course of my work, I edit and clear foreign, local, business, sports news and features, lay out the pages and fix the pictures. As such, I am privileged to have the opportunity to observe first hand, and be an intimate part of, a lot of what is presented to the reading public everyday.

Before coming to Papua New Guinea two years ago, I had worked as a sub-editor in a Malaysian English language national daily and at Bernama, the Malaysian national news agency. Prior to becoming a sub-editor, I was a news reporter for six-and-a-half months. I am barely past my mid-twenties; never knew any other prime minister other than Dr Mahathir Mohamed.

My point: I am relatively young and inexperienced in the field of journalism. I had been shaped, as a journalist and as an individual, by the forces of the Mahathir era.

Imagine the culture shock I experienced coming to a country where the editorial dared to scream out in a headline two centimetres tall: "Stop lying and resign, Mr Prime Minister!". (Never mind that the writer of the editorial, an expatriate Australian who has lived here for more than 35 years, was deported two weeks later before being allowed to return after a new prime minister replaced THAT prime minister who resigned.)

Often enough, the front-page photo is perfectly legitimately depicting a topless woman in her traditional finery welcoming dignitaries in formal suits to a function. (Never mind also that nudity is condemned outside of traditional grass skirt, shell necklace and feathered headdress.)


Paradise

In tourism brochures, Papua New Guinea advertises itself as the "Land of the Unexpected". More often than not, it is a polite description of the country’s 4.8 million people who speak over 800 distinctly different languages besides Tok Pisin (Pidgin) and English. Backward, inherently fragmented, immensely corrupt, lethargic, simple-minded - these are some of the less polite words foreigners have used to describe the people who inhabit this 473,000 square kilometre paradise of sorts 160km north of Australia.

As far as media freedom is concerned, PNG has been an eye-opening "paradise" for me. Not because I exalt in being an expatriate with a rich collection of horror stories, but because I see so many fascinating, inspiring stories waiting to be told all around me. More importantly, the authorities who matter - editors of media outlets especially - do not fear raising controversy in the name of public interest.

Put this in the context of a largely uneducated Papua New Guinean public toddling towards "development" amid an invasion of shapes, colours, textures and concepts that seem to conspire to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, and you can’t help but see the great need for raising public awareness in every field.

The figures - more than 80 per cent of the population live a subsistence lifestyle in the rural areas; literacy here is 72.7% (even less speak, read and write English), life expectancy is 57 years, and the people to doctor ratio is 12,500:1! See www.asiaweek.com "Bottom Line".

Incongruously – thanks, or no thanks, to the Australian and British colonial masters - the PNG media is vociferous and the reading public responsive. Easily half the news comes from press statements proactively issued by all and sundry; unlike in Malaysia where getting comments from people in authority is like asking the person to sell his or her soul.

Pity not enough people read English; pity too many people are not earning enough to spare the cash for newspapers. More significantly, not enough local journalists do justice to the wonderful media freedom they have.

But of course, its only human nature to take for granted something you always had; something you never had to struggle for.


The Constitution says so

PNG gained independence from Australia in September 1975.

Section 46 of the PNG Constitution provides for "Freedom of Expression and Publication". As stated in Section 46 (2), this includes:

(a) Freedom to hold opinions, to receive … (and) communicate ideas and information;
(b) Freedom of the press and other mass communication media.

I ask PNG Media Council president Peter John Aitsi, the general manager of the commercial radio station PNGFM, what the definition of media freedom in PNG is.

"We haven’t actually looked specifically at the definition of Media Freedom in PNG, although the Media Council generally promotes media freedom," he says crisply over the phone.

"Personally, my definition would be that the media must be free from government influence, free to public input and that we represent the well-being of the public at large.

"These concepts are reinforced by the PNG Constitution."

According to Mr Aitsi, the Media Council’s primary role is to promote the development of the industry by looking at training and industry standards.

The Council also serves as a collective body when there is a need to fight overt media control or regulation by the government or other bodies.

Mr Aitsi tells me that the Media Council was registered formally only late last year. "Prior to that, it was merely a regular gathering of media houses to discuss problems with advertising and accounts."

The Media Council’s membership comprises all media outlets in PNG, while associate membership is held by representatives of advertising agencies, magazines and foreign correspondents reporting for international news agencies.

Naturally, the Media Council organises PNG’s celebration of World Media Freedom Day on May 3. This year, a two-day seminar was held in line with the theme "State of the PNG Child".

Every last Wednesday of the month, the Media Council organises a "media bash" sponsored in turns by various business houses. That’s the closest PNG journalists come to the extravagant media bashes hosted by cash-rich PR-savvy corporations in Malaysia.

Once in a while, the Media Council disseminates to its members calls for nominees for journalism awards, fellowships, scholarships or workshops/seminars. Mostly, these come through its ties to the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA). Last year it coordinated the PNG leg of a US-based Knight Fellow’s tour of Pacific Islands media organisations.

I make the observation that the Council represents more the interests of media outlet owners than of the profession of journalism.

"The ‘teeth’ of the Media Council is the unified support it has through its membership, and the public support that it can call on – i.e. the ability to generate public debate and directed outcry," Mr Aitsi says in a follow-up e-mail.

"A Code of Ethics is one of two projects we are currently working on. It doesn’t really exist yet but we hope to have it in place before the end of the year," he adds.

"We are also working towards the establishment of a Media Complaints Tribunal where we will provide an independent arbitrator to deal with complaints (of an ethical nature)."

The week of World Media Freedom Day, the PNG Media Council got the opportunity to show its teeth when the PNG Minister of Communications abruptly sacked the managing director of the government controlled National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

The sacking came under the "recommendation" of the Minister of Privatisation, and was widely believed to have been due to the NBC’s coverage during the recent standoff between a group of mutinous Defence Force officers and the Prime Minister.

The soldiers had seized a significant cache of high-powered weapons from their main armoury and demanded that the Government scrap plans to halve the barely operational 4,000-strong Defence Force. The recommendation had come from a Commonwealth team of consultants which the Government had invited to come and advise it on reforms for the Defence Force.

In the absence of a definitive explanation from the ministers involved (despite their statements saying the usual rubbish), the local media speculated that the NBC managing director was being punished for refusing to divulge his reporters’ sources, and for initially misreporting that the Prime Minister was going to turn up at the barracks to receive a petition from the soldiers.

In the same instance, the media disclosed letters from the Prime Minister’s Office asking the Catholic Church, the controlling shareholder of the English language weekly here, to sack the managing editor, publisher and a reporter over the weekly’s coverage of the Government’s funds crunch after international financial institutions deliberately delayed delivery of sorely needed aid funds.

The whole week, the media played up the issue of the government interference on the front pages with sound condemnation from various quarters including the Ombudsman Commission and Transparency International (PNG). Even the National Doctors Association criticised the Communications Minister’s choice of a government medical officer as the new NBC managing director!!

It was only the third time since PNG’s Independence that media freedom has been overtly challenged. The first two times, I was told, were Parliamentary submissions by certain "aggrieved MPs" which could have resulted in the licensing of media outlets and journalists. Till today, media outlets and journalists remain unlicenced.

It was before this controversy broke that I interviewed Mr Aitsi for this AWO article. In response to the apparent government interference, he was quoted as saying that "media organisations will support one another in seeking a review of the decision if it was not performance based, if it was politically motivated or if it was the result of anger over (the NBC’s) coverage)".

As I conclude this lengthy essay at the end of Media Freedom Week, the outcome of this challenge to the freedom of PNG’s media remains to be seen. I am nevertheless certain that Papua New Guineans will successfully uphold the NOTION of media freedom even if they take it for granted in everyday terms.


Next: Culture shock


 

 

 

Media Freedom - a Papua New Guinean perspective (published in the May issue of Asian Women Online)

Culture shock

LENA LIEW tries her hand at investigative journalism in Papua New Guinea and experiences media freedom like never before.

My eight to 10-hour workdays in a nationally distributed English language daily leaves me little time and energy outside of balancing my sanity with housework and my significant other to pursue writing for publication.

With all due respect to the section editors I work with, every day I find myself having to rewrite and dress up copy far beyond what a sub-editor should be doing. That’s not counting the times I have had to go running looking for the original press release or source for material to fill my pages. Without fail I find myself grumbling about the questions that remain unanswered, or worse, questions that are created by inept reporters.

All too often, I wonder out loud: "What is it that the universities here are not teaching in their journalism courses? What is it that these journalism degree holders are not applying in practical terms what they DID learn from university?"

What value for the ordinary person’s precious 80 toea (U$0.27), when the front page headline of the other daily screams out "Why I became a sex worker" … only to present not a single mention of condoms and AIDS?

Imagine how I cringed when I was told that the standard of journalism here was doubly worse before my paper appeared seven years ago to challenge the dominance of THAT other paper.

Over the course of one year, that Little Voice in my heart grew from a murmur to a loud grumble. I began to lose sleep, as I kept wishing I could afford to quit sub-editing and become a reporter again.

Something inside me snapped one week before Chinese New Year at the end of January this year. As I celebrated my first CNY without my family, I voluntarily embarked on an "investigation" of what I thought was a cleverly disguised Internet-based pyramid scheme.


My story
It was not the first time PNG was being hit by get-rich-quick schemes, but it was the first time that an Internet-based scheme was being so aggressively marketed in this country of only 4.2 Internet users per 10,000 people.

In this case, the Papua New Guinean promoter of the US-based scheme called Skybiz 2000 had been advertising his activities in my paper for four months before I got moving on it. I knew I was treading on dangerous ground since various reports indicated that a US$1 million defamation lawsuit had filed by the Skybiz headquarters in the United States against the Canadian Mounted Police. That kind of money could bankrupt my paper, surely!

Another consideration: The "backer" of the Papua New Guinean Skybiz promoter, a white Australian who operated a Christian bookshop here, was one of my paper’s most prominent advertisers. That, if not other reasons, made him good buddies with the advertising manager – as evidenced by the frequent back-slapping visits and advertising discounts.

Imagine my dismay when I found out after I submitted my 3,600 word special report to the acting editor-in-chief, that the said advertising manager was going to be the editor-in-chief in a few days time. All those sleepless nights and countless hours of research, phone calls, interviews and strain on my personal life was going to be in vain if he refused to publish my report!

In the context of the poor law and order situation here in Papua New Guinea, the personal risks I had undertaken were significant; more so when you consider the general resentment against Oriental expatriates here. Out on the streets, I stick out like a sore thumb not only for being Oriental, but also for being the extremely rare case of an expatriate woman driving or walking around alone. Consider also many Papua New Guineans are inherently violent, such that a straightforward robbery or drunken brawl or wife-beating often results in death.

There was as such a need for me to not reveal myself physically, even though I sound obviously expatriate over the phone without a Papua New Guinean accent. I wouldn’t have had to face these constraints if I had been a Papua New Guinean journalist.

Save for the executive director of the Consumer Affairs Council who insisted on meeting me face-to-face, I managed to obtain comments and documents from various top government and private sector authorities as well as Skybiz members via phone, e-mail and fax. People were helpful and eager to talk … I even had someone offer to give me a video of the Skybiz presentation. Most were willing to be named; if not, they readily directed me to higher-ups who could be named and quoted.

For the record, I identified myself as a "journalist from" my paper. Only later I find out that PNG laws prohibit non-citizens from being "employed as a journalist" – "sub-editors" being defined as "editors" and NOT journalists.


Seeing the light of day
The very day his appointment as editor-in-chief was announced at a staff meeting, Yehiura Hriehwazi approached me to ask about my Skybiz story. He told me his Skybiz contacts here told him that I had interviewed them. Apprehensively, I printed out another copy of my report for him and psyched myself up for rejection. The next day he handed to me several e-mails he had received from his local Skybiz contacts – e-mails supposedly exonerating Skybiz from accusations saying that it was an illegal pyramid scheme.

Two days later, on his second day as editor-in-chief, Mr Hriehwazi comes up to me and says: "Very good story, well done. We’ll run it in three parts starting this Friday, in our "Focus" section. Blurb it (to promote the article) in Thursday’s paper." I was elated! The Friday paper sells the most because we don’t publish on Saturdays and Sundays.

The day my paper published a blurb promoting my special report, I started work as a sub-editor (at 4pm) having received two threatening phone calls from local "Skybiz members" and several frantic messages for me to call or fax the local Skybiz people. On Friday, I stayed away from the office (it was my off day anyway!), and prepared to take the next flight out of PNG if necessary.

Two weeks later, the Skybiz promoters bought full-page ads over three days in all three English language news publications (one a weekly) slamming my paper and I by name, without threatening to sue. My editor-in-chief had exercised his right to edit the advertisement and removed my name and personal attacks contained in the advertisement. The other two papers published nearly every word of the original text.

I declined to sue for defamation because I didn’t think it was worth the hassle. After all, my contract ends next March. On his part, Mr Hriehwazi lodged a strongly-worded complaint with the PNG Media Council. I was told that this was the first time such drastic action had been taken out against a PNG newspaper and its journalist.

I am certain I would never have had this experience in Malaysia. Never mind having to deny to total strangers that I am that Lena Liew who wrote those articles.


Editor-in-chief says
For the purpose of this AWO article, I interviewed Mr Hriehwazi to try to suss out a Papua New Guinean editor-in-chief’s psyche in relation to media freedom.

He chuckles when I tell him how much his support for my story had meant to me, considering his advertising ties. I tell him that where I come from, editors rarely back their journalists on controversial stories.

"It was a first-time experience for me as well.

"And yes, it was a difficult decision for me, especially since I had just come from being the advertising manager. It was a decision between revenue and public interest – short term gain for the paper versus long term gain for the people.

"For me, educating the people won out because I felt it was more important to play our role in creating a more informed Papua New Guinean public," Mr Hriehwazi says.

"As Editor-in-chief, my roles and responsibilities are now broader. I need to be more concerned with the paper’s impact on public awareness and its contribution to the nation at large," he adds.

Mr Hriehwazi goes on to recount his personal experience with the ordinary people and churches who were scammed by the various Ponzi (fast money) schemes which hit PNG simultaneously two years ago.

As such, he says: "I have a personal resolve against corruption, and deception of the people."

When I point out to him that the local Skybiz promoter had since refused to pay for the edited full-page advertisements (worth a total of over K5,000 or U$1,700), Mr Hriehwazi said: "I told the advertising manager ‘Forget it, we can make money elsewhere’."

"I don’t regret it because we did the right thing. I know I have done the right thing when I am at peace with myself when I go home at night; and I look forward to coming to work again the next morning," he says.

This is the advertising manager who broke the record and doubled my paper’s ad revenue in one year?! I politely refrain from asking him what if, in time, HIS bosses come chasing after him for waving off revenue like that.

I go on to ask Mr Hriehwazi to elaborate on an editor-in-chief’s right to edit advertisements - i.e. the extent of editorial freedom from commercial interests. This is especially significant in Papua New Guinea because every week, we have numerous advertisers taking out full-page statements or advertorials for some reason or other. Advertising rates here are relatively low, you see. And ad sales people sometimes give as much as 50 per cent discount.

According to Mr Hriehwazi, the conflict between the advertising and editorial departments has long existed, even in the other publications.

"Advertising people are not familiar with journalistic ethics. Their concern is to make the sale," he says.

Only since he came on as advertising manager of my paper was there effort to foster closer consultation between the advertising and the then editor-in-chief.

"In a way, I inherited that close co-operation," he says with a grin.

I ask Mr Hriehwazi if he has had personal experience having to fight for media freedom.

After searching through his memory banks, he replies: "I can’t think of any!

"If at all, I was referred to face questioning by the Parliamentary Privileges Committee when I was a political reporter. All three times I got off the hook. I played my taped recordings and presented the relevant documents, and managed proved that I had not misreported."


His story
Before joining my paper as advertising manager in September 1999, Mr Hriehwazi ran his own news agency.

"I produced lots of good stories which were regularly used; I was very happy. But I was not making enough to put bread on the table ... The papers were not paying,’ he recounts.

Mr Hriehwazi had begun his career as a rookie reporter with the country’s only newspaper at the time. In those days, he says, the highest journalism qualification one could obtain in PNG was a Diploma in Journalism from the University of PNG.

He left reporting nine years later - as chief political reporter - and went to work as press secretary to the Office of the Opposition Leader.

"I was there for less than a year, and I served under three different Opposition Leaders!

"I left because I got tired covering up for politicians."

His next job was as public relations manager to the Chamber of Mining and Petroleum, an industry organisation. His job was thus to organise and conduct negotiations with the PNG government and public awareness seminars. Not surprisingly, when his three-year contract there ended, he joined Ok Tedi Mining Limited, operators of the then robustly world standard Ok Tedi copper and gold mine. It was after this contract that he established his own news agency.


Taken for granted

Mr Hriehwazi agrees that Papua New Guinean journalists take for granted the media freedom they enjoy.

"The media freedom that we are so lucky to have is no excuse for sloppy reporting.

"Media freedom comes with responsibility. We still cannot overstep the boundaries and bring disrepute to any institution or person without facts and figures.

"We ourselves have to be careful and regulate ourselves so that we do not provoke anti-media sentiments," Mr Hriehwazi says.

I jump at that opportunity to pose a nagging question: The media should "regulate" itself but not "censor" itself. Where is that thin line drawn?

Mr Hriehwazi mulls over my question for a while.

"As long as we do it right by going back to journalism basics to present a balance story based on facts ... As long as we don’t abuse the freedom of expression that we have ... that’s ‘self regulation’.

"As long as we can operate without fear or favour ... as long as there is no legislation to licence or restrict us ... that’s how there will be no need for ‘self-censorship’," he concludes.

Now, how many of us have had the privilege to practise journalism in a poor developing country with a wonderfully free media?


Related article: Celebrating media freedom