5 March 2002


Hundreds march for press freedom in New Caledonia

Incident details

Etienne Dutailly, Lucienne Moreo-See


(PINA/IFEX) - On 2 March 2002, an estimated 500 people took to the streets of New Caledonia's capital Nouméa to demonstrate support for press freedom, the daily "Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes" reported. The march was called by the French Pacific territory's Human Rights League. It was organised in protest against recent assaults on the publisher of the weekly satirical newspaper "Le Chien Bleu", Etienne Dutailly, and Radio Djiido editor-in-chief Lucienne Moreo-See.

The demonstration included non-governmental organisations, trade unions, political parties and individuals, "Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes" reported. Moreo-See and Dutailly were present, along with "Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes" general manager Bruno Franceschi, the newspaper said. Franceschi was attacked by a political party leader last year.

French High Commissioner Thierry Lataste received a delegation, who handed him an open letter, "Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes" reported. The delegation's open letter stressed that freedom of expression "was not limited to…non-aggression towards press members: it must also rely on the very existence of the press, its plurality and its accessibility to the greater number."

Delegation members said the high commissioner was concerned that violence was becoming a "frequent mode of expression." The high commissioner reiterated that France is still in charge of law and order in New Caledonia and noted that the judiciary is determined to find those behind the assaults on journalists.


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