VANUATU PUBLISHER SAYS PINA OFF MARK ON

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ASSAULT
Suva-based media organization calls for balanced reporting

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 9, 2011) – A Vanuatu newspaper publisher, who alleges a cabinet minister led an assault on him, has criticised a regional media body which suggested the attack may have been prompted by biased reporting.

The publisher of the Daily Post, Mark Neil-Jones, says he was violently attacked when the minister of public utilities, Harry Iauko, barged into his office last Friday with a group of about eight men.

They were angry at criticism of him that had been published in the paper.

The president of the Pacific Islands News Association, Moses Stevens, has condemned the attack but he also says it’s alleged that biased reporting prompted it.

Mr Neil-Jones dismisses this.

He says the report the paper carried was a column by Transparency International Vanuatu.

Mr Neil-Jones says this column is an opinion piece, based on the organisation’s own research and had been vetted by their lawyers.

He says other pieces the Daily Post had run on Mr Iauko did not require comment from the minister.

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