A representative of the owners of New Caledonia's only daily newspaper says a strike by the paper's journalists is premature.
The journalists at the Nouvelles Caledoniennes went on strike yesterday, fearing the loss of editorial indepedence in a sale which they say is imminent.
The paper is reportedly being bought by a group of local business people, made up of a major wholesaler, a car distributor, a nickel company and an engineering business alleged to be closely linked to centre-right politicians.
There has been no official statement about the sale.
The striking journalists want the new owners to sign an agreement outlining the journalists' professional rights and obligations.
The paper's owners say they want mediators to help settle the dispute.