15 Sep 2003

Vanuatu PM resists pressure to tighten media freedom

4:03 pm on 15 September 2003

Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Edward Natapei, has told the Vanuatu Media Association that he has been under political pressure since the beginning of the year to tighten media freedom, but he has not yet given in to it.

His comments were made to a 20 member media delegation to his office, led by the media association president, Kiery Manassah.

Mr Manassah presented the Prime Minister with a petition urging the government to apprehend and take action against the people who attacked the editor and publisher of the Daily Post newspaper, Marc Neil-Jones.

Mr Neil-Jones is still suffering a suspected fractured rib from an attack outside the company offices.

Among the recommendations are that the government immediately suspend or dismiss all politicians and public servants who threaten or assault journalists for researching or writing articles critical of them.

Mr Manassah says as long as such people are not punished, media freedom is always under threat.

The Prime Minister promised to consult his Cabinet over the issues raised in the petition before giving a written answer.