13 Oct 2003

Vanuatu paper gets new backers

4:43 pm on 13 October 2003

The new backers of the troubled Port Vila Presse in Vanuatu say they have rescued the community newspaper for altruistic reasons.

The weekly newspaper will be renamed The Independent as of Saturday under the management of a newly-formed charitable organisation called the Independent Foundation.

The editor of the publication, Bob Makin, says Vanuatu needed another newspaper which would provide balanced, honest coverage.

"I think that most people would have felt that there is a need for a second voice. The Daily Post has well entrenched views about certain things and does not always give both sides of the story and it was therefore necessary to have a newspaper which was very much committed to giving both sides of the story."

Mr Makin says that unlike the Daily Post, the paper will include a French section, because both English and French are taught equally in school.

Mr Makin, the former general manager of the Vanuatu broadcasting and television corporation, says that with a circulation of just two thousand, the paper is not expected to be a great money maker.

The paper has been run by Mark Lowen - now a member of the new management - for the past three years.