Author: Yuambari Haihuie

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International Day for Universal Access to Information

Tuesday 28th September 2021, Port Moresby – Tuesday 28th September 2021 marks the International Day for Universal Access to Information as declared at the global level by the United Nations (UN) in October 2019 recognising the significance of the rights of citizens to access to information.

On the occasion of this important day, “TIPNG welcomes the announcement at the Open Government Partnership National Conference earlier this month, by the Department of Information and Communication Technology, that public consultation has commenced on a Freedom of Information (FOI) Policy. The draft Policy is available on the Department’s website and is the first important step toward developing a robust Freedom of Information Act which will activate the constitutional rights enshrined in section 51 of the constitution. TIPNG is calling on our parliamentarians to support the Freedom of Information Act as and when it is presented in parliament. The adoption of the Policy and the eventual passing of the Act will ensure that PNG has a robust freedom of information framework.”

“Section 51 of our National Constitution is clear, Papua New Guineans have a right to know more about the activities of their Government and importantly how public monies are spent and how important decisions that impact their lives are made. TIPNG believes the ability of the Public to access timely, accurate and factual information is vital to reinforcing accountability and efficiency in service delivery and will go further to strengthen our democracy.” said Peter Aitsi, TIPNG Board Chair.

In support of FOI TIPNG publish a report in 2019 entitled , “Our Right to Know, Their Duty to Tell, where it surveyed 24 public agencies to assess levels of accessibility to government information and found that with the absence of an FOI law giving a clear process, agencies had developed a culture of secrecy. An FOI Law would greatly assist the work of citizens such as journalists, environmental protectors, academia and the business community by enabling improved access to public information which in turn should lead to greater levels of transparency in the conduct of government business.

The recently announced Freedom of Information Policy is a precursor to a legislation and subsequent regulations that will require holders of public information by law to properly record, manage and store information and to ensure it is available for access as and when applications are made by citizens under an FOI act. The Policy addresses relevant issues pertaining to access to public information, sets out key objectives and provides a directional statement that will translate into a legislative framework. The public is able to access the draft FOI policy on the Department of Information and Communication Technology website and can make submission up to the 8th October 2021.

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TIPNG UNCAC (Chapter II) Civil Society Report 2021

With the aim of contributing to the second cycle of the national UNCAC implementation review in Papua New Guinea (PNG), this parallel report was written by TIPNG using the guidance materials and report template designed by the UNCAC Coalition and Transparency International. The production of this report was supported by the UNCAC Coalition, made possible with funding provided by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Danida).

Recommendations of Priority Actions in the report:

1. The National Anti-Corruption Strategy Taskforce (NASTF) must hold regular meetings.
2. Each state agency should develop an internal anti-corruption strategy.
3. Wide consultation is required to ensure a thorough regulatory framework for OLICAC.
4. Amendments to go beyond the traditional employer-employee relationship need to be made to the whistleblower legislation to ensure its effectiveness.
5. Ensure that sanctions under the Leadership Code and the Organic Law on Duties and Responsibilities of Leaders are proportionate and compel reporting by public officials.
6. Amendments are required to the OLIPPAC to ensure it is constitutional and followed.
7. Creation of a legal basis for beneficial ownership data to be collected and shared.
8. Operationalisation of PNG’s e-procurement system with reference to global standards.
9. Support is required for the national chapters of EITI and OGP to achieve their broad objectives, and specifically to enact a Freedom of Information law.

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National Integrity System Assessment (NISA) Papua New Guinea 2021

The National Integrity System (NIS) approach considers that preventing corruption and promoting good governance in a country requires the effective operation of all key institutions. According to this assessment, only 5 of Papua New Guinea’s 14 NIS institutions have a relatively high Overall Score although it is concerning that they still fall short of having both an adequate legal framework and adequate actions in practice: the Judiciary, Procurement, Anti-Corruption Agencies, Ombudsman Office and the Media. These pillars tend to score relatively better than others because of supportive legislative frameworks but like all 14 pillars, there are troubling weaknesses in their implementation. This result points to a number of challenges that require action for preventing corruption and for strengthening democracy in general.

The report’s final chapter reviews the relative strengths and weaknesses of each pillar according to the NISA PNG 2021 and contains specific recommendations for each institution.

The following highlights the key reforms that TIPNG considers must be implemented in the lead up to and beyond the 2022 National Election, as a priority to strengthen the country’s national integrity system and democratic governance:

1. Open Up Parliament! Broadcast full Parliament session, Demand MP Constituent Meetings, Release Annual Report on Parliament Performance, and restore OLIPPAC.
2. Make every vote count! Prioritise the National Census, register every eligible voter, and implement the electoral laws, to ensure integrity within the electoral process.
3. Let the People Know! Protect our media, empower our citizens and welcome informed investment by delivering an effective way for us all to access public information
4. Start ICAC Strong! Recruit competent staff, use the NACTF to coordinate anti-corruption partnerships, and protect the integrity of our new anti-corruption agency
5. Bridge the Integrity Gap! Develop and Recognise integrity initiatives in agencies, enable citizens to hold public servants accountable, align Police Conduct with integrity provisions in Police Act and support multi-stakeholder forums

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TIPNG Makes Presentation to Parliamentary Committee on Need for Regulations to Guide the ICAC Bill

Tuesday 14th July 2020, Port Moresby – The wording on the Bill for the Organic Law on the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) ensures that it will be a fully-empowered anti-corruption agency. This was made known in an oral presentation on Tuesday 14th July by Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) to the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Laws, Acts and Subordinate Legislations, which is chaired by the Governor for Enga, Grand Chief Sir Peter Ipatas. In its presentation, TIPNG highlighted that the challenge once the Bill is voted on and passed in its 3rd reading in Parliament, will be ensuring that the regulations that will guide the office, implement the spirit of the Legislation.

“As an overall assessment, the proposed Organic Law to establish an ICAC in Papua New Guinea meets TIPNG’s expectations of being full empowered to significantly address corruption. As such while TIPNG does not have any major amendments to be considered we do have substantive recommendations for the ICAC’s accompanying regulations, guidance notes and policy papers to ensure that the body is able to operate with the intended intent of addressing corruption in Papua New Guinea,” said founding Director of TIPNG Mr. Richard Kassman in an oral presentation to the Permanent Parliamentary Committee.

For the purpose of the presentation, TIPNG’s position was based on the draft of the ICAC Bill that was published in National Gazette No. G843 on 17th October 2019. The assessment by TIPNG in the oral and written submission focused on two primary thematic considerations in the Bill:

  1. The Powers of the ICAC in 5 areas; Definition of Corruption, Investigation, Arrest, Prosecution and the Proceeds of Crime
  2. The Independence of the ICAC in 6 areas; Appointments, Appointments Committee, Funding, Prime Minister’s Powers, Oversight, High-Profile Cases

The Prime Minister at the Launch of the 2019 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) Results by TIPNG made a public commitment to ensure that a fully-empowered ICAC would be enacted in 2020. Following the First Reading of the Bill in February and the Second Reading in June (which was also the first of two constitutionally-required votes in Parliament), the ICAC Bill is now with the Parliamentary Committee for review before the Third Reading scheduled in August where it will be tabled and voted on for the last time.  The deadline for written submissions to the Parliamentary Committee is Friday 17th July 2020.

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Notice to Bid – PAIS National Consultant

Background

Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) is the national chapter of the global Transparency International Movement. TIPNG was formed in 1997 by a group of concerned citizens, headed by the Late Sir Anthony Siaguru, with the aim of combating corruption and promoting openness, honesty and accountability in public and private dealings.

The National Integrity System of Papua New Guinea comprises agencies in the comprise the executive, legislature, judiciary, the public sector, the main public watchdog institutions (e.g. supreme audit institution, law enforcement agencies), as well as political parties, the media, civil society and business as the primary social forces which are active in the governance arena and will soon hopefully be augment by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for which as an Organic Law has just had its second reading in Parliament.

TIPNG is seeking an experienced consultant to undertake an update of the National Integrity System (NIS) Assessment of PNG, since the last report released in 2003. The primary purpose of conducting a NIS update is to:

(a) assess whether there has been any progress over time with regards to the country’s integrity systems;

(b) identify specific changes (both positive and negative) which have occurred since the full NIS report was published; and to

(c) identify recommendations and advocacy priorities for improving the country’s integrity systems.

Description of Tasks

The primary tasks of the PAIS National Consultant are to:

  • Identify and conduct interviews with key individuals and organisations (at least two interviews per pillar – one external expert and one official from the relevant institution), after consulting with TIPNG (and after notifying the government and getting any consent necessary to conduct the survey, should this be required)
  • conduct survey, write and deliver the NIS report and provide NIS scores within the agreed timetable of 6 months and based on the standards laid out in the NIS toolkit
  • Prepare for and attend the project inception workshop with the TIPNG Office
  • Design a template for an Anti-Corruption Strategy Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) for use with Integrity Institutions
  • Participate in monthly progress meetings with the TIPNG PAIS team
  • Revise the draft NIS report based on feedback from the PAIS Team, advisory group and TIPNG
  • If required by TIPNG, manage implementation of transparency field tests
  • Conduct a participatory mapping session
  • Conduct NIS Assessment validation meetings
  • Conduct subsequent internal strategizing and action planning workshop with Integrity Institutions

Qualifications, Skills & Experience

The lead consultant should have the following qualifications:

  • Background in political science, public administration, law or another related social science
  • Proven expertise in political-institutional analysis, with particularly strong knowledge of Papua New Guinea’s governance and justice systems
  • Excellent understanding of the legal framework and actual practice of the country’s major governance institutions
  • Familiarity with transparency, accountability and anti-corruption discourse
  • Ability to write succinctly and for a non-academic audience
  • Proven commitment to practical policy reform and evidence-based advocacy in the field of anti-corruption and good governance
  • Experience in working with/applying quantitative indicators and rating methodologies.
  • Experience using participatory research techniques
  • Compliance with Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) requirements
  • Compliance with International Revenue Commission (IRC) requirements

Terms of Reference

Please click here to download the full PAIS Consultant Terms of Reference and Appendix 1 with the Format of Submission 

Submission and Deadline for Applications

  1. You may submit, by no later than 5:00 p.m., 10th July 2020, any queries that you have relating to this Invitation to Tender. Please submit such queries by e-mail, or hard copy to info@transparencypng.prg.pg with the subject line “Query Regarding the updating of the NIS Assessment 2020”. Any queries should clearly reference any appropriate paragraph in the documentation and, to the extent possible, should be aggregated rather than sent individually. As far as reasonably possible, we will respond to all queries pertaining to this Invitation and supporting documents, if made before the above deadline. TIPNG will aim to provide responses by 5:00 p.m., 9th July 2020, after which time no further queries will be answered.
  2. You must inform TIPNG in writing if there is any change in control, composition or membership of your organization or your consortium members subsequent to your expression of interest in this procurement process. TIPNG reserves the right to disqualify you from the procurement process as a result of any such change.
  3. You must state if you will be using any third-party contractors to deliver the Services and ensure that all relevant terms and conditions are applied within any relevant sub-contract. You will be fully responsible as the prime contractor for all third-party sub-contractors.

Preparation and Format of Responses

  1. Responses, all documents and all correspondence relating to the tender must be written in English.
  2. You should consider only the information contained within this Invitation to Tender and supporting documents, or otherwise formally communicated to you in writing when making your offer.

Please note that only the shortlisted bidders will be contacted for interviews within 1 working days of the bid closure.

Executive Director

Transparency International PNG Inc.

P.O. Box 591, PORT MORESBY

Section 54 Lot 31, Lokua Avenue, BOROKO, National Capital District

Ph: (675) 3234917 / 3237517

Email: info@transparencypng.org.pg

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Vacancy – PAIS Project Coordinator

We are embarking on a new and exciting project to systematically strengthen the integrity of national institutions through research, partnership and advocacy for better anti-corruption strategies

TIPNG is looking for suitable applicants to fill this new and exciting position of a PROJECT COORDINATOR – PROMOTING ANTI-CORRUPTION & INTEGRITY STRATEGIES (PAIS).

The Project Coordinator will work under the supervision of the Deputy Director – Policy & Advocacy and ensure the efficient and effective running of the project.

Specific Responsibilities

Reporting to the Deputy Director – Policy & Advocacy, the Project Coordinator shall:

  1. Coordinate project funds and reporting while implementing the project
  2. Supervise Consultant engaged to do a National Integrity Systems Assessment (NISA)
  3. Coordinate stakeholder meetings with key Government Agencies for the NISA
  4. Organise and deliver a National Anti-Corruption Summit
  5. Lead the PAIS Team within TIPNG

Key Qualifications and Skills:

  • Must have an academic background in either political science, public policy, economics, project management and/or related fields.
  • Must have at least three (2) years of successful project management experience, ideally in the development-sector
  • Must have excellent English language report writing skills
  • Must have competency in using MS Office Suite
  • Should possess the ability to multitask and engage with stakeholders
  • Should have experience facilitating group trainings/workshops
  • Should possess excellent organisational, information management & communication skills
  • Should be a highly motivated self-starter who can work well under pressure of competing deadlines.
  • Should have concern and interest in anti-corruption and democracy issues.
  • Be a team player

Applications must include 3 referees with reliable telephone number and/or email address.  Send applications addressed to:

The Executive Director

Transparency International PNG Inc.

P O Box 591, Port Moresby, NCD

Applications can be emailed to: info@transparencypng.org.pg

Applications close at 5:00pm on Monday 18th May 2020. Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

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TIPNG Media Trends Report Preliminary Statement

Introduction

The theme for this year’s World Press Freedom Day, which occurs annually on 3rd May, is “Journalism Without Fear or Favour”. In line with this theme Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is releasing a Preliminary Statement on our forthcoming report examining Media Trends in Papua New Guinea and the issue of bias in reporting on Governance issues amongst Print Media.

TIPNG Media Trends Report

Mainstream newspapers have been criticised by citizens as being biased for some time now, with the intensity of feelings increasing in the lead up to the 2017 general elections and the 2018 APEC Leaders’ Summit. The question that has been asked by the public is; to what extent is there a bias in the media on governance issues, and more importantly, will it matter in the next major national event e.g. 2020 COVID-19 Emergency or 2022 Elections?

To address this question, TIPNG looked at media trends on how the daily newspapers here report on governance. In PNG, most people rely more on print media than social media for their daily dose of current affairs and information. For this reason, understanding local print media story choices and general trends is important. Examining the content of the stories on governance shows the strengths as well as weaknesses that the media can work on to improve the quality of news that informs PNG citizens, businesses and policy- makers alike.

Analysing the content of newspaper articles on; the 2017 National Elections, Politics, Law & Order, 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit, and Governance in general, we covered a one-year time period from June 2017 to August 2018.

Preliminary Findings from TIPNG Media Report

First, we looked at which governance topics the PNG print media write about most frequently, and which issues are overlooked. Then we examined whether there are different viewpoints expressed to enable a healthy societal debate on governance. Related to this, we assessed the extent to which a range of sources is used. Overall, we considered the evidence on bias in the newspapers in reporting on governance, and on the 2017 National Elections in particular.

This study by TIPNG on Media Trends is perhaps the first to provide Papua New Guineans an objective basis to evaluate claims of whether the media in PNG are fair.

For instance, one of the questions we examined from our data was the percentage of then Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, related stories from positive, negative and neutral standpoints in both Newspapers which produced this pie graph (above), demonstrating an overwhelming deference to the incumbent Prime Minister.

Another area of interest examined in the report is less explicit biases such as when reporting on sub-national (at the Province, District, LLG level) governance issues whether voices from those areas are captured in reports. In this particular case we looked at the clear difference between provinces with larger populations (EHP & Morobe) and those with lower populations (Manus & Gulf) and it is clear that there is a disparity whether conscious or not.

 

Threats to Media Freedom in PNG

While PNG has enjoyed a relatively free media this has been under threat in recent years. For instance, the 2020 Reporters Without Borders (RSF), World Press Freedom Index assess PNG to have a press whose independence is ‘endangered’, with a corresponding drop of eight places in rank since last year. Interestingly one of the reasons cited by RSF for the diminished ranking is that “Journalists nonetheless continue to be dependent on the concerns of those who own their media.”

The threats to PNG’s Media Freedom are most obvious when it comes to major national events that require objective reporting in the public interest. Recent instances where the ability of the media to report have been hampered by other interests (often political) include; the 2017 national Election, the 2018 APEC Leaders Summit, the 2019 Political Transition and the 2020 COVID-19 Public Spending. Journalists in PNG are further disadvantaged by the lack of Right to Information (RTI) legislation to enable them to obtain public documents from the State. In the absence of a RTI law in PNG the media outlets are further beholden to political interests as sources of information – which further erodes public trust in news outlets.

Strengthening Media Freedom in PNG

Findings like these are examined in the forthcoming report by TIPNG on Media Trends to be released later this year. It is hoped that the findings of the report will stimulate discussion about print journalism in Papua New Guinea and outline steps that can be taken to improve reporting on Governance issues, without ‘fear or favour’.

TIPNG will continue to act in solidarity and support media professionals as they report on allegations of corruption and demand accountability on behalf of citizens in Papua New Guinea

TIPNG is a national chapter of the global transparency movement, with a mission to empower Papua New Guineans to act against corruption. Since TIPNG’s establishment in 1997, we have worked with the media to ensure that the voices of citizens who value transparency and accountability are unrestricted and heard by those in positions of power. The role of a free media to maintaining democracy in Papua New Guinea cannot be overstated.

The quality and credibility of the news matters because the media can be a powerful force for change. Where it is able to effectively fulfil the roles of watchdog, gatekeeper and agenda-setter, the media can improve governance by raising awareness on social issues, enabling citizens to hold leaders and government to account, curbing corruption, and creating a civic forum for debate. It can also amplify the voice of marginalised and excluded groups, serving young, rural, and non-literate citizens across the country.

The media can be an influential force around elections, although impartiality of the media during electoral campaigns and after elections is difficult to achieve. Where electoral processes are flawed or outcomes are contested, the media can either exacerbate or help settle disputes, and can influence the likelihood election-related violence. To reach its potential, however, professional and ethical journalism standards need to be raised in the face of increasing political pressures.

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Act to Stop Corruption During Covid-19 Emergency

Wednesday 25th March 2020, Port Moresby  Transparency International PNG takes this opportunity to provide a timely reminder to Prime Minister James Marape and the Covid-19 Emergency Committee that they have a duty to the public to be vigilant to ensure that corrupt individuals do not attempt to profit from the Government declared Covid-19 state of emergency response.

“Procurement of goods and services during an emergency situation still needs to be subjected to stringent and proper processes. Ensuring these processes are transparent and open to external scrutiny will instill greater public confidence. The gravity of the situation the Government has a duty to proactively disclose this information as the lives of People may depend on their decisions. During a state of emergency partnerships between state, business and civil society are essential to minimizing the prevalence of corruption in our National efforts to mitigate this insidious virus” said Chairman of TIPNG Mr. Peter Aitsi.

“The Government must learn from past mistakes and ensure that there is proper independent oversight of the funding provided for the state of emergency and also a mechanism to receive any complaints from whistle-blowers. If this is not included in Covid-19 planning then the outcome can only be to the detriment of our efforts.”

Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) is making this call following similar concerns raised in previous emergencies such as the 2018 Highlands earthquake and from the issues around procurement of medical supplies in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearings into Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals (BPP) in 2019.

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TIPNG Bougainville Referendum Observation Report

TIPNG was accredited by the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) as a domestic PNG observer group. The TIPNG observation team was comprised of volunteers from: academia, independent constitutional bodies, TIPNG Staff and TIPNG Directors, who possessed relevant knowledge of electoral processes.

The purpose of the observation was to report whether: Bougainvilleans were free to exercise their right to vote, if the Referendum process was fair to all voters; and to see if polling was safe from violence. These observation results fed into an overall assessment as to whether the Referendum outcome credibly reflects the will of Bougainvillean voters.

There were two survey forms that TIPNG observers used in the field: the first survey form, systematically evaluated polling stations and officials; and the second form that collected the views of voters. In total, nine TIPNG observers participated in the field work during the week of polling from 23 to 28 November 2019 in North and Central Bougainville. There were 28 polling places observed and 163 voters interviewed by TIPNG observers.

Quantitative results from both observers and voters demonstrated a high degree of freedom of expression and the exercising of voters’ rights. Additionally, a substantial majority of observers deemed the referendum process was very fair. A sole incident in Central Bougainville and bias of a polling official at one polling place in North Bougainville are not considered to be reflective of the overall high degree of fairness observed.

There were significantly high percentages of reports by TIPNG observers that voters and polling officials were not subject to intimidation or bribery, as recorded by 93% and 71% respectively. These findings were also supported by the voter surveys where 99% of respondents never felt threatened to select a particular option.

TIPNG’s overall evaluation based on observation data both quantitatively and qualitatively reflected that the Bougainville Referendum was free, fair & safe and credibly reflected the will of voters.

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Law Students Successfully Complete TIPNG Internship

Three students from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) School of Law have completed their eight-week internship with local anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG), on Monday 10th February, 2020.

The interns; Alois Sinen, Rhonda Tevlone and Melvia Lyandenge, began their internship on 2nd December, 2019 within TIPNG’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC), which provides information to assist witnesses & victims of corruption in PNG.

“Since 2017, there have been 2 cohorts of interns. The 2019-2020 TIPNG Interns are the third cohort to have completed the program.  We are proud to have these budding legal professionals gain experience of TIPNG’s activities and programs which empower citizens to address corruption,” said Mr Samson Kandata, coordinator of the TIPNG Legal Internship Program (LIP).

“The 2-month internship involved attending to complainants through phone calls and face-to-face meetings with clients. TIPNG is a non-government organisation so does not investigate, arrest or prosecute perpetrators of corruption. The LIP Interns while with TIPNG compiled case briefs and followed up referral of cases with responsible agencies on behalf of complainants.”

In addition to their duties under ALAC, the Interns also contributed to research & policy work on outstanding national cases of corruption and assisted with advocacy & outreach events by TIPNG. Meeting with TIPNG stakeholders and partners in the Public & Private Sectors was also a part of the LIP. The Legal Internship, now in its 3rd year, is an arrangement between the UPNG Law School and TIPNG, with funding support from ExxonMobilPNG (EMPNG).

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