Vanuatu Media Association: Proposed Media Control Laws ‘Unnecessary’

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Draft of proposed law to be made public this week

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 13, 2015) – The Media Association of Vanuatu says the Government's proposed curbs on media are excessive and unneccessary.

The new Sato Kilman led Government is proposing new media laws to control what it calls unbalanced and unfair reporting in both the mainstream and social media.

It has raised concerns of stories focussing on political instability in the country and the government's position on West Papua's bid for membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

A draft of the proposed media laws is expected to be made public this week before it is put before parliament next week.

[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that ‘The Vanuatu Opposition is calling on the Government to focus on political reform instead of trying to control the media. ... The newly formed Sato Kilman led government is making stricter media laws a priority after weeks of heavy public criticism around political instability in the country. ... But the Opposition say laws to promote stability and integrity in politics would be more beneficial for the country.’ RNZI also reported that ‘The Pacific Freedom Forum says one week is not enough for consultation on Vanuatu's proposed regulatory media law. ... PFF editor Jason Brown says a draft copy of the new law is reportedly being provided to media outlets this week ahead of the bill's proposed enactment next week.’]

The Media Association says there are already legal avenues to deal with any issues.

It also says setting up a media disciplinary council would be preferable to a government controlled regulatory body.

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