Pacific Media Centre
A new mining law was passed last month by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), opening up talk of the reopening of the Panguna mine – the catalyst of a 10-year civil war.
Many are against the controversial idea, but Australian-based campaigner Vicki John from the Bougainville Freedom Movement, said there were issues with getting their message out.
“I think it’s obvious to most peace activists the mining company are … a very powerful lobby,” she told Pacific Media Watch.
“They don’t seem to be accountable to anybody and it’s the people in Bougainville that want these things addressed but they seem to be ignored so hence I am probably in that role, I’m trying to help.”
She claimed the ownership of websites, such as broadcaster New Dawn FM, are affecting what news gets out.
“It’s like another way of brainwashing by the mining company,” said John, who in 2004 was awarded the Elizabeth Hastings Memorial Award by the University of Technology, Sydney, for her human rights work.
“A clever tactic to have that station set up for them basically.”
But the manager of community broadcaster New Dawn FM, Aloysius Laukai, denied there was any link between his station and the mining companies.
“No, we have no links and that’s why we have put up heaps of stories and cover events such as the mining forums,” he said.
“There must be some confusion with the us and another Bougainville news website”.
Bougainville24 news website is produced by Bougainville Copper Ltd.
Laukai said the focus for New Dawn was on the people.
“We are talking to the community, we have a focus on community issues like health and development issues,” he said.