PNG MP referred over Facebook comment about minister

Papua New Guinea's parliament. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

A Papua New Guinea MP has been referred to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee for a Facebook comment labelling a fellow MP as “dumb”.

The comment from Madang MP Bryan Kramer was directed at his former party leader Sam Basil of the Pangu Pati who is the Minister for Communications and IT.

The two have been publicly at odds since Mr Kramer decided not to join Mr Basil and the rest of his Pangu Pati in defecting to the government last year.

Another Pangu MP, Kobby Bomareo yesterday successfully requested that Speaker Job Pomat refer Mr Kramer to the committee for what he called disrespectful social media comments about Mr Basil.

Dr Bomareo called for leaders to show respect for one another in their exchanges both in and outside of parliament.

“Leaders criticise, that’s fine. They can write a letter and say ‘here bro, I’m not happy with you’.

“But to put it in public media, social media, where you allow people of different walks of life, different backgrounds, different levels of education to contribute, they may say any nasty things and paint a wrong picture of the leader, that’s not respectable.”

PNG’s parliamentary opposition yesterday walked out of the chamber in protest at the referral of Mr Kramer.

The referral comes after Mr Basil indicated he was considering ways of reviewing the use of Facebook in PNG, which could include a temporary shutdown of the social media platform.

The revelation that Mr Basil was considering the shutdown, prompted Mr Kramer to muse “did the dumb get dumber” on Facebook.

However Dr Bomareo said the referral had nothing to do with the government’s plans for Facebook.

“No, no, no. no. I didn’t come from that end, sorry. That’s not the idea,” he explained.

“My idea is to protect the integrity of my leader, because already the leader’s name has been tarnished in the public.”