Saturday, 11 July 2015

Vanuatu needs more consultation on new media law - PFF

Immediate release:
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Saturday, 11 July 2015

More control? After gaining power in a vote of no confidence last month, new Prime Minister Sato Kilman has identified new media laws as a priority, raising concerns about freedoms of speech.


Vanuatu government leaders must consider giving more time for consultation on a proposed media law, says the Pacific Freedom Forum.

“One week is nowhere near enough for proper consultation to take place on such important legislation,” says PFF Chair Titi Gabi.

“Vanuatu should consider following the example set by countries like Samoa, where new media laws have been under consideration for more than two years.”

The new government of Sato Kilman has publicly stated that the new media law could be introduced as early as next week.

“Gaining power through a vote of no confidence does not give government the mandate from voters to potentially threaten their freedoms of speech.”

In his statement, Kilman attacked public comments on radio talkback shows and social media, accusing them of “inciting social anarchy, instability and disorder in the community”.

He also called on journalists to ensure that they had both sides of the story when reporting, including comment from government.

PFF Co Chair Monica Miller said that government could help achieve that goal by ensuring state broadcasters had proper funding.

“Pacific governments all too often cut back resources for national broadcasters while insisting on better standards.

“They also use advertising cut backs to try and control what is said in private media.”

This lack of consistency helped create the very instability that governments complain of, says Miller.

She says governments could help achieve consistency through building the independence of news media, including through editorial charters.


Kilman plans media law to curb 'excessive liberty'

Media Association Blong Vanuatu on new media law

The Challenges To Media Freedom In Vanuatu

Opposition against mainstream media limits

Vanuatu media reacts to PM's comments on control

Transparency Vanuatu deny promoting political instability


PFF Chair Titi Gabi | GM PNG Loop | Papua New Guinea Mail: PO Box 7776, Boroko, NCD, Papua New Guinea | Mob: (675) 7314 3929 | Email: 

PFF co-Chair Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa Mob (684) 258-4197 | Office (684) 633-7793 | Email: 

PFF Editor Jason Brown | Aotearoa New Zealand | Mob: +(64) 224340831 | Email

The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media. We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance. In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community. 

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