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Wallis and Futuna TV and radio still disrupted

(PINA/IFEX) - Radio and television services in the small French Pacific
Islands territory of Wallis and Futuna remains off the air as of 9 May, but
the manager and two editors detained by angry villagers have been released.
According to information obtained by PINA, the villagers were upset when two
other villages were given more air time on 3 May, during the station's
coverage of traditional ceremonies on Wallis Island. On 4 May, the villagers
went to the station to get an explanation and, not satisfied, returned to
the station and occupied it on 5 May. They held the manager and two editors
and demanded that those responsible for the coverage be sacked. The station,
which is on Wallis, is operated by the Societe Nationale de Radio Television
Francaise D'Outre Mer (RFO), a company which oversees radio and television
services in France's overseas territories. It is the only broadcasting
service in Wallis and Futuna, a territory about 250 kilometers northeast of
Vanua Levu, Fiji's second largest island. Discussions about how to settle
the problem were due to begin on 9 May between King Lavelua, the ruler of
Wallis, and Bernard Joyeux, RFO editor-in-chief in Wallis and Futuna. The
seven police officers on Wallis have kept watch but are heavily outnumbered
and have not intervened, except to help RFO staff leave the station.

** Updates IFEX alert of 6 May 1998**

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