Blanket censorship of social media announced for all Government workersPosted: June 28, 2016
According to Radio Vanuatu News today the Public Service Commission is forbidding government workers from accessing social media. This was decided in a meeting of 29 April. In an advisory note, the Acting Secretary of the PSC, Jacques Gedeon, says public servants will no longer have access to unspecified social media sites, and all requests must have the approval of the PSC Secretariat before the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) enables access. This website objects strongly to this position of the PSC. Social media are an important public sphere for debate in Vanuatu. The memo is also vaguely worded, and does not specify how ‘social media’ is defined nor what sites are to be banned. Many civil servants lack the means to purchase newspapers, others find it difficult to have radio coverage at appropriate times. Furthermore, as we have discovered in recent years, both the broadcasting corporation and governments have at times decided to terminate transmissions at certain levels to save costs. A Right to Information Bill is before Parliament and a blanket censorship of this kind should not be allowed by either the Public Service Commission or the Office of the Chief Information Officer, the more so because of the Prime Minister’s stated commitment to provide information to all and wherever they may live.
Very important changes are taking place in the capital with the provision of previously unknown sanitation facilities, drainage improvements and road and footpath renewal. These are components of the Port Vila Urban Development Project (PVUDP). A public meeting last week organised by the Chamber of Commerce was gratified to learn of the rationale and extent of the works which meet the critical gaze of residents and visitors alike as they seek to park or promenade in the George Kalsakau Drive along Port Vila’s Seafront.
A treatment plant is being established at Bouffa, near Etas, which will deal with human waste from many areas, already started with three Seaside communities, Blacksands and Mele. World Vision and Wan Smolbag have been working within these communities in order for the ongoing management to be successful.
Kalsakau Drive road traffic scheme started late but is now expected to be completed by end-July, says Lawrence Carlson, the team leader for the Port Vila Urban Development Project. He had many questions to answer at the meeting last week, from residents and developers alike. He was assisted in the task by a splendid aerial photograph, two metres long, showing every allotment in the town. The roads to be improved are indicated and the passage and terminal points for waste water are pinpointed. It’s to be hoped the photo can be made available for public display.
The project will see 13 kilometres of road improvement and 7km of drainage. In today’s Daily Post, Carlson says that the main contractor for the road and drainage works, RMS, has been working closely with utility companies. He discussed mostly roads last Wednesday, like the plan for making through town traffic, say airport to Pango, pass through the Emalus/Tassiriki roundabout to Colardeau. Today came further information for pedestrians which will be applauded by the pedestrian traffic. Australian standards are to be maintained. And there will be kerb rumps, new roundabouts, pedestrian crossings and signs, road traffic signs and some 30 bus bays.
Different works are also foreseen in Daily Post today in that a contract has been signed for the reconstruction and renovation of the Efate ring road. Cardno Emerging Markets has secured the task which is assisted by the Asian Development Bank.
The Namatan Film Festival is to be judged tomorrow evening at the Saralana stage. Six film-making groups have already been selected for the finals which have been adjudicated already by some 3,000 viewers. Finalists come from Tanna, Efate, Malekula and Santo. The show gets underway at 4:30pm tomorrow and this writer believes there is much of interest to be seen.