Friday, December 14, 2007

RSF protests over lack of action over 'JPK'

Reporters Sans Frontieres has called on the French government to renew efforts to find out what happened to Jean-Pascal Couraud ("JPK"), editor of the French Polynesia daily Les Nouvelles de Tahiti, who vanished 10 years ago on 15 December 1997. He was allegedly assassinated. RSF said:
Recent developments suggest the enquiry into his presumed death can now move forward. It is urgent, morally and legally, that all elements in the case are revealed. The French authorities must not provide an argument for those who think French Polynesia is a place where shady deals are done or the law can be flouted.
Along with JPK’s family and his support committee, we hope that investigations will be above board and that his journalistic work will
be considered a possible motive for his disappearance.
Couraud was looking into reported transfers of money to former French President Jacques Chirac to a Japanese bank account through one in
French Polynesia. The sensitive nature of this and JPK’s disappearance
make it even more imperative to discover the truth.
The civil parties in the case finally managed in September to
get a copy of the case-file which strengthened their belief that JPK
was murdered. The Papeete investigating magistrate agreed on 20
November to add to the case-file items seized at the home of Gen
Philippe Rondot in connection with the Clearstream corruption case and
Chirac’s Japanese bank account, and also to take Judge Philippe
Stelmach off the case.
The lawyer for the civil parties, Max Gatti, says the discovery on Gen Rondot’s computer hard-drive of two documents about a bank account of former French Polynesia President Gaston Flosse proves that the material JPK said he had was a threat.
JPK’s former lawyer, Jean-Dominique Des Arcis, said in May that the journalist had details of transfers of funds between a large French Polynesia firm and a Chirac bank account. The lawyer will get a court hearing on 17 December and the civil parties have been authorised to check whether a link can be made between this material and the lawsuit they filed in 2004 for "murder and accessory to murder".
The French TV station France Inter will show a report on 16 December (in its programme "Interception," from 09:00-10:00) by journalist Benoît Collombat about Couraud’s disappearance called Sharks in Murky Waters.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Christina Kewa tackles tough PNG issues in new book

I caught up with Christina Kewa, one of my former journo students from University of PNG days, and her husband Andy and four children over the weekend. Both Andy and Christina have been on tough assignments in recent times - she producing a new book on the rough deal faced by women in PNG; he in the construction business in Afghanistan. Now they're enjoying life a little easier at sun-baked Ruakaka, near Whangarei. Christina's book, Being a Woman in Papua New Guinea: From Grass Skirts and Ashes to Education and Global Changes, was launched at Mt Hagen not so long ago. Reporting from the Highlands town for the Post-Courier, she came face-to-face with some horrendous moments. So as a journalist she wanted to put into print some of her observations in a bid to make things better. Her book confronts and challenges issues that are currently affecting women in PNG but - as she says - "the laws and society are doing nothing about it". She adds:
I challenge our denial to education, our freedom of speech, and the fears we have of being rejected raped, abused, killed and much more as women in Papua New Guinea. The book confronts the issues, and searches for solution avenues through government and the laws of PNG. The book does not aim to degrade the men in PNG, but aims to educate, inform, and position them all as loving, respectable and honourable.
Good luck with your book, Christina.
Incidentally, on a quick online search, I noticed this quirky story in the Whangarei Leader (and a photo by Christina) about the day a fishing crew caught a wild pig at sea!

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