State of Emergency Extended from The National
ONLY Prime Minister James Marape and State of Emergency Controller David Manning are the authorised persons to release information to the public on Covid-19 matters.
Manning, also the Police Commissioner, said Marape could delegate Health and HIV-Aids Minister Jelta Wong to also speak on the response to the pandemic.
“It is critical that established protocols with regard to the release of information are observed so that the correct information is disseminated to the people,” Manning said.
It follows the unauthorised release on social media on Sunday of intelligence reports on the joint-agency task force team in Daru, Western.
Manning said the information contained a snapshot of an internal police intelligence report, which he described as disturbing.
“I received information that a situation report from an incident in the Western province border area was posted on social media and shared widely,” he said.
“Raw data which has not been verified or analysed cannot be published in such a manner.”
He warned public servants and all involved in the Covid-19 response not to release unsanctioned information regarding government operations.
“Officers are privy to information that is not available to the public for the purposes of Government’s response to manage the pandemic,” he said. “Spreading false, unconfirmed or unsanctioned information cannot help our efforts. The Government must ensure our people are well informed with accurate information cleared by authority.
“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 centers must be vetted by the office of the controller or authorised officers in the provinces.
“Severe penalties shall be imposed on persons who disobey this directive.”