World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Vanuatu: Outrage Over Heavy-Handed Crackdown On Social Media

Vanuatu: Outrage Over Heavy-Handed Crackdown On Social Media Commentator

OPINION: PORT VILA (Transparency Vanuatu / Daily Post / Pacific Media Watch): Daily Post readers were shocked this week to see a front page news report that a senior Vanuatu journalist,  Gratien Tiona of The Vanuatu Independent, had been arrested and held in custody in a cell normally reserved for alleged criminals, reportedly following comments he made on the web forum, Yumi Toktok Stret.

The news has spread around the Pacific and via world media links in the wake of a social media post on the Yumi Toktok Stret Facebook page concerning the Council of Ministers meeting that took place last week in the Torba Province.

Apparently the journalist’s comments were postings in reply to comments submitted by other subscribers to this public forum where comments were made relating to what is considered standard protocol in the transport of state officials – using the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as an example. That is, that they would never fly together on a commercial plane as in the event of any accident or disaster both could be affected.

Domestic and international reaction was immediate with regional media outlets expressing outrage that such a heavy-handed approach, involving the police, had been instigated by the Prime Minister’s office. 

For journalists, this draconian and seemingly illegal incident was made all the worse because it occurred during the same week as the world-wide annual UNESCO World Press Freedom Day, and because the Prime Minister is responsible for media in the country.

The World Media Freedom Day on 3 May 2013 focused on the theme “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media” and shone the spotlight in particular on the issues surrounding the safety of journalistscombating impunity for crimes against freedom of expression, and securing a free and open social media as a frontline for safety and transparency.

It has been many years since this level of vindictive action has been taken by government against a journalist, prompting many people to believe that the era of victimising media members, such as the expulsion of private newspaper publisher Christine Coombe in the1980s and the deportation of Daily Post publisher Marc Neil-Jones before he became a Vanuatu naturalised citizen, was at an end, and would go down in history as shameful incidents of a more immature and difficult Vanuatu past.

However, this blatant lack of respect for the law has changed all that, especially since there was apparently no official complaint made to the police and the proper police procedures were not followed, evidenced by the fact that the Public Prosecutor confirmed there were no grounds for any action against the journalist, who was eventually released from custody. - Editorial comment by Transparency Vanuatu

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Breaking: Israel Shelling Beit Hanoun Hospital

The Israeli military have started to shell and shoot at Beit Hanoun hospital. There are still 61 medical staff and civilians, three patients and two International Solidarity Movement volunteers trapped inside. More>>

UN: Urgent Action To End Female Genital Mutilation UN: Urgent Action To End Female Genital Mutilation

New UN data shows need for urgent action to end female genital mutilation, child marriage More>>

World News: SRI LANKA: Justice Denied To Two Child Victims Of Rape
There have been reports of an alleged abduction and rape of an eleven-year-old girl by a group of Navy officers, and of another nine-year-old girl treated in a similar manner. More>>

‘Global Epidemic’ Of Anti-Semitism NGO Urges UN To Condemn ‘global Epidemic’ Of Anti-Semitism

French riot police officers face rioters in Sarcelles, a suburb north of Paris, on July 20, 2014. More>>


IDF Falsifies Photograph To Justify Bombing El-Wafa Hospital IDF Falsifies Photograph To Justify Bombing El-Wafa Hospital

On the 21st July at 2:17 PM, the IDF spokesperson released an image on twitter showing an aerial picture of a building marked as ‘Al-Wafa’ hospital. In the image there is a red circle, which they designated as the location from which a M75 rocket was ... More>>

MH17: Black Boxes Recovered by Malaysian Government

'Following the agreement Prime Minister Najib Razak brokered with rebel leaders, Malaysia has taken custody of flight MH17's black boxes. As the Prime Minister said, they will be passed to the international investigation team for analysis. More>>

ALSO:


Gaza Update On 15th Day Of The Israeli Offensive

Dozens of Palestinian Civilians Killed or Wounded as Israeli Forces Attack Apartment Buildings, Mosques, Hospitals and Schools; White Phosphorous Bombs and Flechette Shells Fired by Israeli Forces in Border Areas... More>>

Al Jazeera: Egypt Verdict Defies Logic And Any Semblance Of Justice

Following today’s verdict in Cairo, Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said: “Today three colleagues and friends were sentenced, and will continue behind bars for doing a brilliant job of being great journalists. More>>


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news