9 Dec 2003

Solomons newspaperman hits back for press freedom

7:32 am on 9 December 2003

The editor of the Solomon Star has hit back at claims the freedom of the press is at risk in the country.

Cabinet minister Daniel Fa'afunua - who is facing criminal charges - was reported to have been pushing for an out-of-court settlement with the newspaper.

Mr Fa'afunua is alleged to have sent gunmen to the paper's office to demand money after it published an article which they said discredited their MP.

But the Solomon Star editor Ofani Eremae says he is not aware of any move to withdraw charges against Fa'afunua, or of an out-of-court settlement.

"The case is still before the court, and those of us who have given statements to the police, are just waiting for the time to be called to give evidence."

Ofani Eremae says police only took the case seriously when the Regional Assistance Mission arrived in July.