30 Mar 2011

US critical of Vanuatu media assault

3:26 pm on 30 March 2011

The US Deputy Ambassador to Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, Paul Berg, says he hopes those who were involved in the alleged assault on Daily Post publisher, Marc Neil Jones, will be brought to justice.

The newspaper publisher was allegedly assaulted by a group of men, led by a government minister, Harry Iauko.

Three suspects have been arrested but the prime minister, Sato Kilman, has taken no action against his minister.

Mr Berg paid a courtesy call on the Daily Post offices to express his solidarity with the publisher and his staff, saying the US stands for freedom of the press that is essential for the development of democracy.

He says Vanuatu is headed in the right direction towards a better governance system and more democracy but that it cannot get there unless the press and the media are free and do not face intimidation.

Mr Berg says Vanuatu is a shining star in the South Pacific of good governance and good economic policy and for this reason, the US Government has its Millennium Challenge Corporation road building programme in the country.