A Papua New Guinean journalist suffered facial injuries in an assault on August 25, as she travelled by boat to Manam Island to cover a major volcanic eruption. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expressed its concern at the brazen attack and called for further investigation into the circumstances surrounding the assault on the group of media workers.
Mark was en route to Manam Island with a group of fellow journalists when their vessel was reported to be intercepted and taken by unknown assailants. The media workers were then forced to travel by foot for an hour to the next village in the early hours of Sunday morning to get help.
The president of the Pacific Island New Association (PINA), Kora Nou, said Mark was risking her life to travel to Manam Island to report the latest natural disaster, only to be physically assaulted by the attackers.
Mr Nou said: “It is such early reporting and awareness by our journalists that can trigger quicker evacuation of our citizens, as well as much-needed relief assistance. The reported unprovoked assault on Ms Mark, who received facial injuries, should therefore be condemned in the strongest terms and those responsible be arrested and charged.”
Manam Island’s volcano erupted off the coast of Papua New Guinea at 6am on Saturday morning and sent plumes of ash reaching 15 kilometres above sea level. As many as 9,000 inhabitants have been urged to evacuate the island.
The IFJ said: “This incident raises critical concerns not only for the safety and well-being of journalists reporting on natural disasters in the region, but also the duty of care of their employers as they go out in such treacherous conditions”.
The IFJ warned journalists to exercise extreme caution when covering dangerous volcanic events and calls on media house to ensure adequate duty of care to staff. This includes conducting adequate safety and security assessments, including emergency response plans.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ condemns the assault of PNG journalist Dorothy Mark and urges urgent investigation to find the attackers.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
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