Attorney General Ano Pala has urged leaders to guard against making derogatory comments against public institutions and constitutional offices that are tasked with duties to protect citizens and uphold the rule of law.
Mr Pala said he was surprised at the manner and language used by Opposition Leader Don Polye in recent days to attack the Public Prosecutor over issues that are still pending in the Supreme Court.
“Papua New Guinea is a democratic country that promotes free speech, and as such criticism of government decisions, court rulings or the behavior of a leader are part of that process.
“But when criticism impinges on the integrity of a person, or the integrity of the office they hold, then those making the criticism must be held accountable.
“Mr Polye’s attack on Public Prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin, in the handling of a matter that is still before the court to determine, as reported in the media, is quite vitriolic and unbecoming of a leader.
“It is not only defamatory, it is also contemptuous as the actions of the Public Prosecutor are the basis of the reference that is going before the Supreme Court to determine.
“In fact Mr Polye’s comments, as published, may amount to misconduct in office.
“Institutions and offices like the Public Prosecutor and other officers that represent the court and our judicial system need our support, and not be put in the public spotlight by media comments that call into question their impartiality, or demeans the integrity or credibility of the office they hold.
“I call on the Opposition Leader to immediately withdraw his criticism and unreservedly apologise to the Public Prosecutor.
“As Attorney General, I reserve the right to take other and further actions if these comments are not withdrawn,” Mr Pala said.