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Vanuatu PM Vows To Maintain Media Freedom

Published: Wed 17 Sep 2003 05:41 PM
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VANUATU PM VOWS TO MAINTAIN MEDIA FREEDOM
http://www.rnzi.com/cgi-bin/shownews.cgi?storyid=206772ab=today=12=0=1
PORT VILA (RNZI Online/Pacific Media Watch): Vanuatu's Prime Minister Edward Natapei says he will resist pressure to curb media freedom.
Earlier, Natapei said he had been facing pressure since the beginning of the year to restrict the media.
The issue has been heightened by a spat between the chairman of the Vanuatu Maritime Authority (VMA), Christophe Emele, and the Daily Post newspaper.
The VMA is under investigation for alleged mismanagement and Emele has taken exception to some of the reports carried by the Post.
There have been allegations of assault against its staff and Emele won a short-lived injunction to stop it publishing stories concerning him and the VMA.
The Vanuatu Media Association had made a personal approach to Natapei, who says the media plays a vital role.
"We have given them so much freedom that in some cases, our people are in fact saying that perhaps we should try to vet any news that comes in from the media. I have to resist that because I believe it's important we allow the media to be free to publish any information that is the truth about what's happening in the country." -- Prime Minister Edward Natapei
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