Vanuatu journalists mark World Press Freedom Day in Port Vila

World Press Freedom Day 2017

Today is World Press Freedom Day. This morning, the Media Association of Vanuatu (MAV) organised a march in support of media freedom through downtown Port Vila. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai addressed the journalists and producers in attendance. A free press is critical to a functioning democracy, and something worth fighting for.

The retrial of the Conspiracy case has been adjourned until 6 June. The former MPs and lawyer Wilson Iauma were in court yesterday for their pleadings to be recorded but the case was then adjourned. They have apparently filed a counter-claim. The retrial will proceed as intended by the Public Prosecutor. The paroled MPs will remain under the same bail conditions as before. Three of the former MPs who have been jailed were said to have never been part of the meetings that led to the pardonings by Pipite as Acting President. These are Carcasses, Vohor and Steven Kalsakau. (Daily Post)

VBTC’s Chairman Johnety Jerety has made sweeping allegations against the company Vanuamadia who partnered with VBTC to establish a digital TV service in 2015. Jerety and his Board apparently now consider the agreement with the Chinese company a liability. The misunderstandings on both sides are extremely unfortunate at a time when the national broadcaster must be arranging international coverage of the South Pacific Mini Games in December. (Daily Post)

VBTC’s agreement with chinese media company Vanuamadia for digital television services is also under review by the Ministry of Finance, VBTC News reported yesterday. VBTC Chairman Jonety Jerety said the Attorney General had expressed an opinion in the matter. And the Vt 99 million soft loan to Chinese television manufacturer Guilin CEKE Communication Equipment Co Ltd was also mentioned by Chairman Jerety. On the talkback show following the lunchtime news, listeners learned of the large number of people in the capital and Luganville no longer taking what used to be TBV because of its prohibitive cost. The diminishing interest in the VBTC’s television service under the arrangement with Vanuamadia must be playing some role in the current management problems at VBTC.

In other news of the national broadcasting corporation, Chairman Jerety has asked union members to reconsider their planned strike action over redundancies at the national broadcaster. However, six staff received their redundancy payments last Friday as part of the first phase of the program, Jerety told the media. (Daily Post)

Apologies for the missing Vanuatu Digest posts recently. Flooding waterways following huge rains and a little ill-health have all got in the way.