17 Sep 2003

Vanuatu PM vows to maintain media freedom

7:16 am on 17 September 2003

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Edward Natapei says he will resist pressure to curb media freedom.

Earlier Mr 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, Christophe Emele, and the Daily Post newspaper.

The VMA is under investigation for mismanagement and Mr Emele has taken exception to some of the reports carried by the Post.

There have been allegations of assault against its staff and Mr Emele won a short lived injunction to stop it publishing stories concerning him and the VMA.

The Media Association had made a personal approach to Mr Natapei, who says the media plays 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 resist that because I believe its important we allow the media to be free to publish any information that is the truth about what's happening in the country."