Media Release: Vanuatu
May 8, 2013
The International Federation of
Journalists joins is affiliate the Media Association Vanuatu (MAV) in
condemning the actions of the Vanuatu authorities who detained veteran
journalist Gratien Tiona this week.
reports, Tiona was detained by police overnight and faced serious charges
including seditious publication and terrorism, for a comment he posted on
Facebook on April 20th. Initial reports that the complaint was made by the Prime Minster were
proved to be false.
released Tiona on May 8th and all charges were dropped after a
delegation from MAV spoke with the Public Prosecutor and discovered that the
complaint against Mr Tiona was not issued through the proper processes and his
arrest was therefore illegal.
President, Mrs Toa, said, "The arrest of Mr Tiona raises big questions in
the new media environment where anyone can make a public comment, but where
there are not the same filters and checks as are in place in traditional media.
We have just celebrated World Press Freedom Day last week, with the theme of
'Safe to Speak'. And this week we were faced with a situation where a
journalist was arrested for a public comment, albeit in his capacity as a
joins the MAV in welcoming the release of Mr. Tiona but warns against any
action taken against journalists by Vanuatu authorities which could threaten
media independence in the country.
The MAV and
IFJ call for further dialogue within the media community on the norms of
ethical and responsible journalism and urge journalists to use the MAV Media
Code of Ethics as a guide http://mav.org.vu.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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