Communication Arts students attend industry workshop

 Five Bachelor of Communication Arts (CA) students from Divine Word University (DWU) attended the 4th annual Media Workshop sponsored by the Papua New Guinea Chamber of Mines and Petroleum in Madang recently.

The Chamber invited the 3rd year students to the workshop organised for journalists in the news media that was held at the Madang Lodge Hotel. It was staged outside of Port Moresby for the first time from Thursday 8th May to Friday 9th May, 2014 with a site visit to the Basamuk nickel refinery on the Rai Coast of Madang on Saturday 10th May, 2014.

The Chamber, as the mouth of piece of the mining and petroleum industry, initiated the workshop four years ago to assist journalists understand the sector that the Chamber describes as the “backbone” of the economy of PNG.

“PNG’s mining and petroleum industry is the backbone of the economy and contributes over one third of government tax revenue,” the Chamber reported in the 2013 edition of Profile, an industry publication.

“The (mining and petroleum) industry paid K9,686 million in corporate tax, K1,226 million in dividends, K1,238 million in royalties and K1,268 million in dividend withholding taxes to the National Government from 2005-2010.

“This totals K13.42 billion, an average of nearly K2.24 billion a year.”

“In addition, the industry contributes significant amounts in salary and wages tax, duties and levies, and the tax credit scheme, as well as dividends to some host provincial governments and landowners,” the Chamber highlighted in Profile.

The media workshop also acts as an avenue for networking among media personnel and communication officers and experts in the industry.

Incidentally, the workshop was held a week before the PNG LNG Project announced its first shipment of the LNG cargo to the Asian market thus formally signaling the start of production. The project operator ExxonMobil PNG Ltd had its managing director, Peter Graham on hand at the workshop to update the journalists and other participants on the project on Friday 10th May, 2014.

For the DWU students, the meeting gave them an opportunity to hear from the mining and petroleum industry experts and take note of the expectations of communications professionals in the industry and also network with potential employers.

Students’ spokesman Russell Saigomi said: “The recent Media Workshop staged by the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum was very interesting and informative but it was a pity that many journalists who report on the sector could not attend.”

“The workshop enables various mining and petroleum industry companies to come out and update journalists on their projects of which they (journalists) can then report to the public correctly and factually.”

“I suggest that in future, invitation should also be sent to key government departments to take part in this workshop so they too can inform the journalists on where their stands are or what they do in terms of the mining and petroleum sector,” said Mr Saigomi, who previously worked at the media unit of the Prime Minister’s Department before assuming studies at DWU.

The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) – the regulator of mines – and the Department of Information and Communication were the only two government agencies represented.

The workshop brought together many graduates of the CA program at DWU who are working in the news media, the mining and petroleum industry and government agencies. They included Kenneth Avira (Mineral Resources Authority), Cyril Akuani (Mineral Resources Development Company), Michelle Jerewai (Department of Information and Communication), Clive Hawigen (Morobe Mining), Anna Awasa (ExxonMobil PNG Ltd), Anisha Isimel, Gregory Moses (National Broadcasting Corporation) and Gynnie Kero, Dorothy Mark (The National newspaper).

The workshop is among a number of ongoing efforts of the chamber and its members to ensure their social license to operate in PNG is guaranteed by publicising their contributions to the national economy and corporate social responsibility (CSR) endeavours.

The mining and petroleum sector has a notable presence in the mainstream news media and other media forms. This is via regular news reports, advertorials and sponsored feature programs on prime time television such as “Resources PNG” and “Business PNG” on the Fijian-owned, EMTV and through industry-specific publications such as Profile, and company websites.