11 Mar 2014

Media body worried by political interference in New Caledonia

3:12 pm on 11 March 2014

A Pacific media watchdog group, the Pacific Freedom Forum, says it is concerned editorial independence at New Caledonia's only daily newspaper, Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes, is being undermined.

The group says it stands in solidarity with the dwindling number of reporters at the paper which has lost half of its 44 journalists to resignations over the past 8 months.

Pacific Media Watch earlier reported the Nouvelles Calédoniennes Journalists' Association accusing the French High Commissioner of pressuring the paper's editorial board to carry an article he had written which attacked the newspaper's journalists.

The association says the High Commissioner, Jean-Jacques Brot, had brought repeated pressure on the board to print his article.

The chair of the Pacific Freedom Forum, Titi Gabi, says the group is extremely concerned, given it is just a month away from the municipal election and three months from the provincial poll.

She says a newspaper should be able to function independently at all times, and even more so in the lead-up to elections.