Dec 18, 2017 Last Updated 3:31 AM, Dec 18, 2017

Making news in death

Obituary ROSALYN ALBANIEL EVARA 1976 - 2017

IN death, Papua New Guinea journalist, Rosalyn Evara, has shone the spotlight on an issue which often escapes notice in regional news coverage – violence against women. A victim of domestic violence for several years, this outspoken woman highlighted daily the ills of the nation and was regarded as an advocate for justice and good governance.

Evara was respected by colleagues, the public and legislators alike for her professionalism and fearless journalism which often exposed the darker side of business in PNG. Trained at the highly-recognised Divine Word University, she began her journalism career at Word Publishing before joining the Post Courier in 2002. Working through the ranks and the major news centres of Lae, Madang and Port Moresby, this promising journalist became bureau chief and later business editor at the News Limited-owned Post Courier.

At 41 when she died suddenly, Evara was on track to becoming the first female editor of one of the region’s largest and most influential newspapers. But behind the professionalism , national recognition and success lay an awful secret which many Pacific women journalists also hide. 

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Death in Moresby

Call to probe spousal abuse

PACIFIC journalists have called for an investigation into the death of Rosalyn Albaniel Evara – Business Editor of the influential Papua New Guinea newspaper, the Post Courier. Evara died last month after complaining of severe headaches. Days later at Evara’s funeral, an aunt claimed that the journalist was a victim of domestic violence and produced pictures of bruises taken after her death. Port Moresby governor, Powes Parkop, ordered the burial to be deferred and forced an autopsy which found the reasons for death to be inconclusive.

Parkop said, however, that he was not convinced and suggested a cover-up may be possible within the police and medical services. “I will refer this matter to the PNG Medical Board,” Parkop told public radio. “This is unacceptable.” His sentiments were echoed by the Pacific Freedom Forum, an independent regional organisation concerned about the rights of journalists. “We welcome the autopsy taking place, but challenge a preliminary finding that cause of death was undetermined”, PFF Chair Monica Miller said. “There are just too many witnesses to our colleague Rosalyn Albaniel Evara suffering severe domestic violence. “Photos taken after her death, and shown at her funeral, showed extensive bruising.”

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GERMAN journalist Frederik Obermaier would never have foreseen how his life would change in a year. He and his colleague Bastian Obermayer (no relation) were investigative reporters for the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung when one John Doe contacted them online with a treasure trove of leaked information – all 2.6 terabytes of it.

More than a year later after their initial contact, the Panama Papers were published on April last year, the largest data leak in history, revealing a long list of rich and powerful names around the world who have hidden their wealth in hundreds of thousands of shell companies that were created by Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider – the world’s fourth biggest provider of offshore services.

World leaders were dragged into the spotlight, some were linked to the Panama Papers revelations and others had close family or friends who were. Not too long after the press broke the news, Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson was implicated in offshore tax evasion and after mounting pressure from the public stepped down. Several Fijian names were mentioned in the leak; however, no one was implicated for any wrongdoing.

Fiji’s Financial Intelligence Unit director Razim Buksh told the media last year that they would analyse this information through collaboration with other partners. Islands Business has contacted Buksh for the outcome of their year-long analysis but he stated via email that he could not respond before this issue went to press. 

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Fijian media dominates Pacific body

At least three members of the board of directors of the new look Pacific Islands News Association Limited will have to be Fiji residents, the regional media body has confirmed. “The articles of association of the new PINA Ltd incorporates most of the provisions of the old PINA Constitution,” said PINA Limited’s President Moses Stevens of Vanuatu in his written response to Islands Business questions. “The only changes are in the structure of the executives of the new company and the compliance requirements under the Fiji companies’ law. “We now have a Board of Directors, comprising seven members, most of whom are now Fiji based PINA members.

The seven include the President and Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and three members. Currently those three members are Fiji based for the purposes of compliance under the Companies Act. The PINA Office Manager becomes the Company Secretary. “On the advice of our lawyer, Chan Law, the President and Vice President were to remain for at least the first two years to oversee the smooth transition into the new company as they have been part of the process in taking PINA to becoming a company limited by guarantee.

The next level in the new company’s decision making process is the Executive Committee made up of representatives from PINA’s industry groups – radio, television, print and national media associations. The four with the President and Vice President make up the PINA Executive Committee.”

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