10 May 2013

Watchdog wants investigation over Vanuatu terrorism charges

1:46 pm on 10 May 2013

The regional media watchdog group, the Pacific Freedom Forum, says charges of terrorism brought against a journalist in Vanuatu and later dropped, need to be investigated.

The charges followed a Facebook comment made by Vanuatu Independent sub-editor Gratien Mulsoul.

The Forum's chair Titi Gabi says a Facebook comment alone cannot possibly constitute terrorism.

She says governments of the day must not use terrorism laws against freedoms of expression, no matter how robust, rude, or just plain wrong the comments are.

Ms Gabi says at the same time, media must ensure they use freedoms responsibly and try to avoid comments that could be misconstrued.

Mr Mulsoul was arrested this week by police after lawyers for the prime minister wrote to police complaining he had threatened cabinet by wishing their plane would crash into the sea.

Despite no official complaint being laid, senior police arrested Mr Mulsoul.

The charges were dropped after he had spent 30 hours in jail.