3 Dec 2012

Vanuatu journalist suspended over talk back show on PM's alleged debt

7:48 am on 3 December 2012

A senior journalist at Vanuatu's Broadcasting and Television Corporation has been suspended for two weeks without pay for an alleged breach of the VBTC's staff guidelines.

Antoine Malsugai was suspended by the corporation's General Manager Fred Vurobaravu, effective from the 23rd of November, following political pressure.

Our correspondent says the decision follows a talk back show he conducted over allegations the prime minister, Sato Kilman had not yet cleared his bill of about 140,000 US dollars for outstanding rent.

Mr Vurobaravu accused Mr Malsugai of being in a breach of the VBTC's staff guidelines.

This is not the first time Mr Malsugai has been suspended from official duties because of political pressure by politicians.

Meanwhile, the Media Association of Vanuatu has condemned the action taken against Mr Malsugai.

In a media statement, it says after 32 years of Independence, Vanuatu's national leaders should have a better working relationship with the media so that any issue of this kind can be properly handled, without causing harm to any parties.