Papua New Guinea’s public broadcaster, the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), plays a critical role in connecting and informing the nation, especially those citizens without access to other forms of communication. However, the public broadcaster’s transmission infrastructure is degraded and fails to reach a national audience. This is a critical problem ahead of nationwide elections scheduled for mid-2022.
Targeted investment by Australia and other international donors can re-establish an effective nationwide radio service in time for the 2022 elections by contracting offshore shortwave broadcasters to retransmit NBC’s national service to the entire country. Further investment can re-establish critical onshore transmitters in time for the vote. Beyond the elections, NBC needs ongoing support to restructure its operations, and infrastructure to remain relevant, reliable, and able to fulfil its critical role informing and connecting all of the country’s citizens. These investment decisions should take into account the importance of maintaining a service for the ‘disconnected’ citizens of Papua New Guinea (PNG) while also supporting the ongoing viability of PNG’s broadcast media.