8 Dec 2004

Vanuatu broadcaster denies government pressure

4:01 pm on 8 December 2004

The public broadcaster in Vanuatu has rejects claims the Government is restricting its news coverage.

Transparency International Vanuatu says freedom of expression is under threat and says political interference has resulted in Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation journalists avoiding speaking about the government.

The opposition has also complained that it receives no coverage from the state broadcaster.

But the VBTC's news editor, Stephenson Liu, has dismissed the claims.

"As far as I am concerned I have no problem with the Government with whatever major issues Transparency International is so concerned about."

Meanwhile, Bob Makim, who is the editor of the weekly The Independent, says the only curbs on media freedom are occasional retaliatory actions by the government.

He says this happened to the Independent this week.

Last weekend we had a picture of the Prime Minister all alone at his desk in Parliament - no one else at any of the other desks, put on the front page to speak of the solitude at the top in our headline and we were banned from Parliament for ever and a day with a letter on Monday, but it is not very significant I think.