PNG National Court interim injunction prevents SIM card deactivation today

Madang MP Bryan Kramer talks to media after the hearing (Credit: Amanda H A Watson)
Madang MP Bryan Kramer talks to media after the hearing (Credit: Amanda H A Watson)
Written by Amanda H A Watson

Today was to be the last day for mobile phone users in Papua New Guinea to register their SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards. However, Madang MP Bryan Kramer has been granted an interim injunction by the National Court to stop over a million mobile phones from being cut off this evening.

The stay order allows fourteen days for the parties to prepare for a case to be heard on Tuesday 15 May. The consent order issued at the National Court shortly before midday today constrained NICTA and the state from implementing a deactivation of SIM cards nationwide.

In explaining his decision to file outside the courthouse, Mr Kramer said that it had taken leading provider Digicel ten years to build up its subscriber base to 2.5 million users and thus he felt that it was “ridiculous and absurd” for the authorities to think that every SIM card in the country could be registered in just 18 months. He talked about the importance of phone access during medical emergencies and expressed his concern that travelling to an urban centre to register a SIM card is a very difficult and costly undertaking for the average citizen.

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Amanda H A Watson

Dr. Amanda H A Watson is a Lecturer at the Development Policy Centre of the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University (ANU) and a Visiting Lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) as part of ANU’s partnership with UPNG. She is also a Visiting Fellow with the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at ANU. She has background in the field of media and communication, and also development studies. Her PhD thesis explored the uptake and use of mobile phones during the earliest days of mobile phone adoption in Papua New Guinea. She holds a Master of International Social Development.

4 Comments

  • Kudos to Bryan Kramer for standing up for the silent rural majority.

    In retrospect however, would you rather expend your time and energy on providing much needed leadership to resolve more demanding socioeconomic and infrastructural problems being experienced in Madang District – your district?

    Madang town once dubbed the ‘pearl of the pacific’ has dire law and order problems that need immediate attention. The state of the town’s road infrastructure is in shambles and needs urgent attention. The present ongoing political interference destabilizing a previously perfectly functioning provincial public service machinery has directly affected basic service delivery at the rural level.

    Perhaps the question here is; would you rather spend your time and energy on trying to resolve a national issue or deal with pressing local issues that demand your immediate attention?

    • Hi Lindsay and thank you for sharing you view on this issue.

      It is certainly an interesting view taking into account the decision to step in to seek a stay was after I was approached by Provincial Paediatrician for Madang General Hospital, who explained that some 600 rural health officers that he communicates with on regular basis, providing life saving health information to treat critically sick children and mothers having child birth complications.

      As to your question how I would rather spend my time?

      Hmmm roads and infrastructure or the welfare of sick children and mothers facing birth complications ???

      How a learned person, who has been afforded a tertiary education and yet appear so morally confused on such an issue is a question I’m more intrigued about?

      • Hi Lindsay

        Hope you got your misunderstanding right by our champion -BK again. You can learn more from BK than your keyboard.

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