3 Jan 2012

Surprise at focus on Tahitipresse in French Polynesia austerity drive

3:33 pm on 3 January 2012

The former head of Tahitipresse, Thibault Marais, says its five staff are surprised that the French Polynesian government singled out the news agency for closure.

France has urged the government in Papeete to curb its spending in the face of unprecedented financial problems, and last weekend, Tahitipresse was closed in line with a decision made in September.

Mr Marais says rescue efforts were unsuccessful, prompting the agency's closure.

"When you talk about public establishments with hundreds of persons and some of these public establishments have done nothing over the last year to cut their spending. So the idea of closing down Tahitipresse just for budget reasons doesn't seem to be the right reason."

Thibault Marais says the government has kept the agency's assets, including its brand name and archives.