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Technology is transforming lives in Papua New Guinea and the way they receive information

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

As the National Broadcaster, with a strong presence right across the country and an obligation to be the ‘Voice of PNG’, the NBC will this election year be using new technology to get important and accurate information out to citizens almost instantaneously.

How to better use rapidly changing technology such as smartphones and social media applications like WhatsApp, was just one of the many areas covered during recent ‘Provincial Election Coverage Support’ training in Mt Hagen, Lae and Buka, with around 30 staff from 10 Provinces taking part in week-long workshops and mentoring activities.

“NBC has officers who are lacking skills, one from my observation is using digital media. But it’s good if we have our own staff with know-how that we share amongst ourselves” – Yoks Ray Atomo, NBC Simbu Senior Broadcast Officer

NBC is expecting that during the 2017 Election, staff posted to remote locations to cover voting and counting will be able to file stories from the field for NBC TV, radio and online, for the very first time, using only their smartphones. It should mean Papua New Guineans will be able to be informed about key developments almost as soon as they happen.

While the training workshops were devised and organised by the Media For Development Initiative, they were unique in their approach as each workshop was co-facilitated by senior Provincial NBC staff, with further training sessions to be carried out by NBC staff themselves.  MDI worked closely with NBC to assess current skill levels so the training could be tailored appropriately and targeted at provinces that would benefit from this hands on training.

“For Executive Producers and Journalists to come together, that’s really representing the whole station. I’ve already told my team that we will have a one-day training on my return. It will not go out for nothing, we will impart what we’ve learnt to our officers” – Miriam Yangen, NBC Southern Highlands Executive Producer

Training was often delivered in the language, Tok Pisin, rather than English, which was a new approach for the MDI project and well-received by participants.

With 85 per cent of PNG’s population living in rural areas, the NBC’s Provincial stations play a pivotal role in their lives and in the lead up to the 2017 election, the NBC’s extensive Provincial network is launching a new Provincial-produced radio program called ‘Stori Bilong Yumi’ or ‘Our Stories’. The show was developed with participants during the recent training, as they focussed on Editorial Guidelines and the concept of ‘Powerful Radio’. The NBC hopes the weekly radio show will give rural Papua New Guineans a voice in the lead up to the 2017 National Election with their issues, their concerns and demands given a national platform, with candidates and other leaders being held to account.

“I also learnt a lot on the editorial skills to give a balanced story. It was indeed a great help especially for my work” – Jack Tame, NBC Western Highlands Senior Broadcast Officer/TV Journalist.