Chief Executive Officer of the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority, Eric Mossman Uvovo, has expressed his utmost disappointment regarding the incident that occurred in Kavieng, New Ireland province, reported on the Post Courier on Friday 13th of January. “Kavieng is amongst the top tourist destinations in PNG, it is known for its beauty, friendly people, and safe environment. I am truly devastated to hear that our visitors to PNG have been hurt physically and psychologically by this traumatic experience.”
CEO Uvovo also expressed his disappointment with how the story had been reported, stating that a number of statements in the original newspaper article were incorrect. “I can not stress enough the significance of fact-checking such sensitive stories by journalists before publishing damaging headlines that add volume to the country’s negative perception. PNGTPA spends millions of public funds every year to market and promotes PNG as a tourist destination in the Pacific, yet all it takes is one headline without conducting your due diligence on the facts surrounding incidents, which set us ten steps back in our efforts. With saying this, I do appreciate and understand that there are other social issues that contribute to such crimes, however, I appeal to the media fraternity, to be mindful, that damage of this magnitude has long-term effects on economic sectors such as tourism where our land, people and environment are the assets we sell to the global market.
CEO Uvovo, speaking on behalf of the victim, strongly condemn the leak of the photograph used for the front-page article stating that this photo was taken for evidence collection and to aid the investigation, not to be publicly circulated via print and social media. “I have personally met with the victim of this heinous crime who is still visibly distressed. She will be seeking legal advice for the gross violation of privacy by those present at the crime scene for leaking the image.” CEO Uvovo stated that the victim will have the full support of the Authority to seek legal action where possible, stating that “click-bait or sensationalized stories need to be properly vetted, details and facts checked. I appeal to all journalists, to do your due diligence checks, you possess a power that can make or break a destination for tourism, be very mindful of that.”
In closing CEO Uvovo stressed “I appeal to the government and line agencies responsible, please invest in the youth bulge of PNG. PNG has an increasingly large youth population. When we can not create incubation programs or make alternative technical/vocational options available, we end up with a significant population of youth who turn to drugs and alcohol, resulting in criminal activities. Create opportunities for young people, create jobs for our youth and this will help to mitigate the rising crime rates all across the country”.
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