Vanuatu: Media association condemns intimidation of journalist

Vanuatu Daily Post journalist Kizzy Kalsakau was intimidated by police and ordered to delete photos taken during reporting at Vanuatu’s Port Vila airport on June 3. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, MAV, in urging authorities to allow journalists to do their jobs without fear of harassment or intimidation.

Vanuatu’s Port Vila airport. Credit: Phillip Capper

On June 3, Kalsakau was ordered to delete photos of the arrival of a plane from New Zealand transporting relief supplies for Cyclone Harold victims and the repatriation the following day of 58 Vanuatu nationals who had been prevented from travelling due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Vanuatu has no recorded cases of Covid-19.

After the incident, MAV raised concerns with the National Disaster Management Office which then permitted the Vanuatu National Broadcaster (VBTC) to film the arrival of nationals from the Philippines. MAV raised additional concerns about delays in the release of footage.

Airport security has since apologised to the Vanuatu Daily Post over the incident.

MAV said: “The intimidation of Kizzy Kalsakau by airport officials is inadmissible in a country that prides itself on having a free media.MAV is, however, pleased that Airports Vanuatu Limited have admitted their fault in the incident and is developing a clearer media policy for filming protocols.”   

IFJ said: “It’s disappointing that Vanuatu’s airport authorities harassed a journalist for taking photos on a critical news issue for the country. Timely and accurate reporting is vital at this time of health and environmental challenges. We strongly urge all authorities in Vanuatu to continue to respect the rights of journalists.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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