20 Feb 2012

Concern among journalists over New Caledonia newspaper sale

6:51 am on 20 February 2012

Journalists at New Caledonia's only daily newspaper have expressed concern that its independence may be lost as the French owner is finalising its sale.

No buyer has been named by the Groupe Hersant Media which is also selling its two daily newspapers in French Polynesia.

Walter Zweifel reports

"As Paris-based Hersant is shedding its Pacific papers to pay off debt, journalists at the Nouvelles Caledoniennes fear a loss of what they see as their hard won editorial independence. They say they won't accept a return to previous arrangements, pointing to the closeness of business and politics in Noumea. They say the sale comes at a significant juncture with the expiry of the Noumea Accord and the possible independence referendum. No bidder has been named but sources have told the AFP news agency that among the likely buyers are a wholesaler and a car distributor."