10 Sep 2003

Vanuatu publisher shocked at injunction in VMA probe

7:36 am on 10 September 2003

The editor/publisher of Vanuatu's Daily Post, Marc Neil-Jones, says he is shocked at a court ruling banning the paper from publishing any more stories concerning the chairman of the Vanuatu Maritime Authority.

The VMA is under investigation for alleged mismanagement.

The VMA Chairman, Christophe Emele, had sought the injunction, claiming the paper had published defamatory stories about his family.

Mr Neil-Jones says the court order raises questions about media freedom in Vanuatu.

He says the stories on the VMA are in the public interest.

"It's a shock from the point of view this case we believe was already in front of the supreme court so the fact that the magistrate's court has come out with a separate decision has raised concerns from the point of view of the media and freedom of expression."

Mr Emele is suing Mr Neil-Jones for defamation, while Mr Neil Jones says he will appeal the court injunction against his paper.

Meanwhile, the Police Commissioner Robert Diniro says they are investigating claims by Mr Neil Jones that was assaulted by supporters of Mr Emele.