Newspaper Editor Assaulted in Vanuatu

 

 

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

public interest.

 

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

“state secrets”.

 

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.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in

120 countries worldwide