25 Sep 2002

Cook Islands publisher not frightened by deportation threats

10:47 am on 25 September 2002

The publisher of the Cook Islands Independent newspaper says he will not be frightened by government threats to have him deported.

George Pitt says the prime minister, Robert Woonton, sent a letter warning him he would be sued if the paper published a story questioning whether public money was used to purchase furniture for his private residence.

Mr Pitt says he's also been told that the government will look at his television and radio station licenses and that the PM has talked to the immigration department to see if he could be kicked out of the country.

"You get threatened all the time.. it's the odd word here, it's the suggestion there, it's a message delivered to you verbally. These politicians...it's hard to take some of them serious. If they do find it an offence they should do something about it. It's not going to stop us. We have zero tolerance for this kind of things from politicians."

Mr Pitt says the government is attempting to get rid of him because he's publishing cabinet documents and they can't trace the leak.