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

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:

Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>

ALSO:

Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>

ALSO:

Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news