PNG’s state-owned television station EMTV has sacked it’s News and Current Affairs Manager Neville Choi. A senior respected PNG journalist who is also president of the PNG Media Council, Choi was terminated by senior management apparently due to non-compliance by Choi towards EMTV’s company human resources policies, according to a media release by EMTV today.
Choi’s sacking has drawn major attention on Social Media, with many members of the public joining EMTV news staff calls for his immediate reinstatement, and for Fijian acting CEO Sheena Hughes to be sidelined and investigated.
The PNG Media Council also released a statement in support of Mr Choi, appealing to the Communications Minister Hon. Rainbo Paita to intervene and put a stop to his termination, stating it is ‘too excessive and one that is bad for this State owned and run Television Company, EMTV’.
Below is a statement released by Choi’s senior colleagues at EMTV News, showing their support.
TERMINATION OF EMTV HEAD OF NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS
On Monday August 19th 2019, a decision was made to terminate EMTV’s Head of News & Current Affairs, Neville Choi.
It was a decision based on purported “insubordination” over an administrative matter that could have been handled better by the EMTV CEO with tact and a demonstration of leadership.
As Senior Members of the National EMTV News Team, we are appalled at the extremely harsh treatment of our Head of News, and are ashamed of the action taken by our Acting CEO, Sheena Hughes who signed the termination notice.
The reasons for termination are as follow:
1. Mr. Choi’s defiance of a KTH and KCHL Board Directive to terminate Deputy Head of News, Scott Waide, during APEC 2018.
2. Mr. Choi’s defiance against a directive to not air a story on the PNGDF pay strike outside the Prime Minister’s office in 2018.
3. Taking unapproved leave to attend a censorship board meeting as Head of News and President of the Media Council.
4. For disclosing confidential management discussions about staff.
Much of the development and progress of the National EMTV News Team has been built upon the guidance of Mr. Choi, who has provided an environment where our reporters can perform WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR!
Under his tenure, EMTV has built up its international links with news services like Reuters, CNN, Asiavision, ABC and RNZ. More staff have received training and mentoring under his leadership through the links he helped establish.
The action to terminate Mr Choi is one that is WRONG, and in direct challenge to the separation, and independence of the News Media Code of Ethics.
We also condemn the manner in which junior and senior staff have been intimidated directly and indirectly after protesting against the sacking of Mr. Choi. Worker intimidation is what we also report on and we will not stand by and watch younger staff members be threatened with termination.
We, therefore, demand that Mr. Choi be reinstated, and for EMTV’s Acting CEO Ms. Sheena Hughes, to be sidelined, for bringing EMTV, but more so National EMTV News, into disrepute.
We no longer have confidence in her leadership.
Acting Head of News and Current Affairs
Deputy Regional Head of News
Senior News Producer