7 May 2013

Vanuatu journalist arrested for online comment

4:33 am on 7 May 2013

Vanuatu police say that a local journalist has been arrrested for publishing a seditious statement about the government on the internet.

Gratien Tiona was arrested this morning over his comment on a popular Facebook forum that he was praying that the aircraft transporting the Council of Ministers back to Port Vila following its meeting in Torba would crash.

George Twomey, who heads the criminal investigation division, says the arrest was made following a complaint laid by the Prime Minister Moana Carcasses.

Chief inspector Twomey says Gratien Tiona's statement was considered unlawful and a threat to the peace.

"And we're dealing with the case as a serious issue. The Prime Minister wouldn't accept that kind of statement. He says it's alright to talk about the government on pretty well anything but if it's a threat then it becomes a serious issue, and he's very concerned about it."

George Twomey of the Vanuatu police