The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns a violent
attack on the publisher and editor of the Vanuatu
Daily Post in Port Vila, Vanuatu, on January 17.
According to local media reports,
Marc Neil-Jones was attacked in his office by a group of men he alleged were
members of the Vanuatu Correctional Services Department. The men were
reportedly angry about a report in the Daily
Post about the country’s prisons. Neil-Jones’ injuries include a broken
nose and substantial facial bruising.
Neil-Jones said the newspaper’s investigative reports on an internal
management crisis at a Port Vila prison,
which led to the dismissal of the Correctional Services Department Acting
Director Joshua Bong, served the
This latest incident follows a series of confrontations between Neil-Jones
and members of Vanuatu’s
Government and police force.
Neil-Jones was deported from Vanuatu in January 2001 after a
dispute with the then Prime Minister,
Barak Sope, for publishing alleged
In March 2006, Neil-Jones was
arrested and briefly imprisoned after publishing a report about an assault on
one of his reporters by a police officer.
“The assault on Marc Neil-Jones is an attack on press freedom in Vanuatu. Journalists and
the media play an important watchdog role in society,
and it is essential that the media is able to report freely and independently
without fear of physical abuse,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director
Jacqueline Park said.
“Authority figures and members of the public with complaints
about media reports must use appropriate non-violent complaint procedures.”
The IFJ calls on Vanuatu’s
Government to request that authorities inquire immediately into the involvement
of Correctional Services officers in the latest attack on Neil-Jones and ensure
the perpetrators are brought to justice.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
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