Manning says only PM and Controller authorised to release information on COVID-19

STATE OF EMERGENCY

OFFICE OF THE CONTROLLER

 

                                                               MEDIA STATEMENT                             Sunday April 5,  2020  at 8:33 pm

 

Manning says only PM and Controller authorised to release information on COVID-19

UNDER the COVID-19 State of Emergency regulation only the Prime Minister and the Controller are the authorised persons to release information to the public said Police Commissioner and Controller of the State of Emergency.

 

 Mr Manning said as this is a health related emergency the Prime Minister, James Marape has delegated Health Minister Jelta Wong as the official government spokesperson on the PNG Government response to the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.

  “It is critical and necessary that the established protocols with regard to the release of information are observed so that the correct information is being disseminated to the people of PNG,” Mr Manning said.

  The Controller made this statement following the release today (Sunday April 5) of internal intelligence reports on the Joint Agency Task Force team work in Daru, Western Province.

  Mr Manning said the information released on Facebook contained a snapshot of an internal police intelligence report which was disturbing to say the least.

  “I received information that a situation report from an incident in the Western Province Border area was posted on social media today (Sunday 5th April 2020) and shared widely by the on various Facebook pages.

  “Raw data which has not been verified or analysed cannot be published in such a manner. All State workers and others involved in the whole of government COVID-19 response are directed not to release unsanctioned information regarding government operations from around the country.

  “Officers are privy to information that is not available to the public for the purposes of our Government response to manage the Coronavirus pandemic now posing a serious threat to mankind.

  “While our country has been spared from any confirmed case apart from the first case who is now out of PNG, we must remain vigilant and committed to ensure PNG remains safe.

 “And spreading false, unconfirmed or unsanctioned information cannot help our efforts. In fact it can destabilise all the advances we have made thus far.

“The Government must ensure our people are well informed with accurate and timely information cleared by authority for release to the public where and when appropriate.

  “We want to avoid any misreporting and misinformation going out to the public to stop any cause of concern and anxiety which can lead to confusion and panic.

  “I therefore direct that all information going out to the public from the COVID-19 National Operations Centre and the Provincial Centres MUST be vetted by the Office of the Controller and or authorised officers in the provinces.

 “Severe penalties shall be imposed on persons who wilfully disobey this directive,” Mr Manning said.

Approved for release :

 

David Manning, MBE, DPS, QPM

Commissioner of Police &

Controller of the State of Emergency

For media contact: Chief Superintendent Dominic D. Kakas, BEM, DPS

Team Leader – COVID-19 Media & Public Information

Mobile: 75430557 Email: ddkakas@gmail.com

 

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