Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins with the Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF) in
condemning a brutal attack by a group of men on Vanuatu Daily Post publisher Marc Neil-Jones
on March 4 which was allegedly organised by cabinet minister Harry Iauko.
Neil-Jones was left shaken and with visible injuries after
he was struck to the head from behind, kicked, and strangled by his attackers during
the brazen assault at his desk inside the Daily
Post office, the newspaper reported on March 5.
Iauko allegedly led the group of men into the office and screamed
abuse and threats during the assault and threatened the newspaper’s editor
Royson Willie with assault. The Daily
Post also reported that a government vehicle was used
to transport the attackers to the newspaper’s premises.
The Daily Post report said the assault was linked to reports the newspaper carried recently
about the minister’s handling of land issues, the Airports Vanuatu Limited
board suspension and other issues.
“The IFJ is outraged and disgusted by a government minister’s
alleged involvement in a violent attack against journalists in Vanuatu,”
IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline
“The Government must act decisively and suspend Harry Iauko
until a full and independent investigation into the assault is conducted –
there should be no doubt left that this brutal behaviour is tolerated by anyone
Neil-Jones intends to press charges against the Iauko
because “he was the one who could
have stopped the men from going into the Daily Post office to assault, but instead Iauko stood right
next to him and watched the assault taking place,” the March 5 report said.
PFF denounced the attack, with chair Susuve Laumaea of Papua New Guinea
calling on leaders to “uphold the rule of law, not take it into their own hands
and turn to vigilante justice."
Auckland-based Pacific Media Centre condemned the
assault, calling on Prime Minister Sato Kilman’s government to sack the
minister and to rigorously investigate the attack.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries
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