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VANUATU: State-owned media managers "redundant"

SENIOR MANAGERS AT VANUATU'S STATE-OWNED MEDIA MADE REDUNDANT

PORT VILA (Pacnews) - A number of senior managers at Vanuatu's state-owned Radio Vanuatu and Vanuatu Weekly newspaper have been made redundant by the newly-appointed board of directors, reports Pacnews.

Among them is Radio Vanuatu's longest serving staff, Ambong Thompson, the presenter of the popular country music programme, who has been with the station for 27 years. Thompson, from Malekula, was manager programmes.

The other senior staff members who are without jobs include Moses Stevens, news manager (from Emae); Shirley Joy, training and personal supervisor and editor of Vanuatu Weekly (Efate); Caroline Escale, sales supervisor (from Paama); and Myriam Kalterikia, senior producer (Efate).

All the redundant managers have each worked for Radio Vanuatu and Vanuatu Weekly for over 10 years. According to a Vanuatu Weekly report, Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television (VBTC) has come under a lot of pressure from the Government recently over its services.

Concerns have been raised about the company not being able to collect sufficient revenue to meet its running costs and salaries of over 60 staff. As part of measures to improve the financial situation, the new Board of Directors has formulated a new structure which is totally different to the previous structure approved by the former board under the Government of former Prime Minister Donald Kalpokas.

The latest restructure at VBTC has come under criticism from the Vanuatu Opposition, with Leader of Opposition, Edward Natapei, alleging the changes at the state-owned media service as being "politically motivated".

According to the board's vice chairman, Kalvao Moli, the new board is considering the possibility of privatising the company's commercial arms, Tudei FM and the Vanuatu Weekly...PNS

+++niuswire

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media, the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, and Pactok Communications, in Sydney and Port Moresby.

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