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Calls for Pacific media groups to set up regional body

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 6, 2011) - The Vanuatu Daily Post publisher, Marc Neil Jones, has called for a regional media complaints council to review grievances about media organizations in the Pacific.

Mr. Jones made the call in a speech to mark World Press Freedom Day at the inaugural meeting of Pacific media networks in the Samoan city of Apia.

He also gave an account of his run-ins with authorities in Vanuatu because of stories published in his newspaper.

Mr. Jones has reportedly been beaten, jailed, harassed and deported in the practice of independent journalism in Port Vila.

He told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program, Pacific media organizations should be the ones to set up the complaints process, not governments.

"I feel that there is a need in the south pacific for a regional media complaints council to be set up to assist countries, smaller nations in the Pacific," he said.

"If anyone has a complaint that cannot be sorted out with the media outlet it can be referred to the Pacific regional council."

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