3 Dec 2012

Vanuatu Broadcaster denies journalist suspended due to political pressure

4:12 pm on 3 December 2012

The General Manager of Vanuatu's Broadcasting and Television Corporation denies that political pressure is behind the suspension of a senior journalist.

Antoine Malsungai is suspended for two weeks following his segment on allegations that the Prime Minister had not yet cleared a debt to government of 140,000 US dollars.

Sato Kilman's alleged debt was the reason why he was left off the initial candidates list for the recent election.

While he stood in the election, it is unclear whether Mr Kilman paid his debt as Vanuatu law stipulates any candidate must do in order to contest.

The VBTC manager, Fred Vurobaravu, says Mr Malsungai failed to have the segment approved by the heads of news.

"And it's created some very serious comments from some political leaders on the issue of the outstanding 13-million vatu for the Prime Minister. There have been various reactions on that one, as to why this was done specifically on the Prime Minister rather than a general topic on many leaders involved in similar cases."

Fred Vurobaravu says the segment appeared to be aimed at tarnishing the name of the Prime Minister