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Grenada2 June 2004

TV news chief resigns in protest at government pressure

Odette Campbell, the main presenter and head of news at Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN), announced on 1 June she was resigning in protest at being suspended for a week for objecting to government threats to prosecute anyone who put out reports that prime minister Keith Mitchell was corrupt. The resignation will take effect on 30 June. GBN is 40% government-owned.

28.05.2004- Journalist arrested for questioning about sources

Reporters Without Borders today voiced deep concern about the detention yesterday of journalist Leroy Noel for interrogation about his sources for a report on an alleged case of corruption implicating Prime Minister Keith Mitchell.

"The arrest, detention and interrogation undergone by this journalist constitute a serious violation of press freedom," the organisation said.

Leroy Noel was held at police headquarters in St. George’s and questioned about a report published on 19 May in the online newspaper Caribbean Net News headlined "Days numbered for Grenada Prime minister?".

He was finally released after four hours of interrogation, but his lawyer, Anselm Clouden, told the online daily Caribupdate there was a strong possibility that "he may be re-arrested and charged, possibly with criminal libel".

Leroy Noel is the third person detained in two days for questioning about published reports about the alleged corruption case. Government information service director Selwyn Noel had warned the news media not to repeat claims made on 15 May in the Miami-based newspaper KYC News that USD500,000 exchanged hands in 2000 between Keith Mitchell and a German businessman, Eric Resteiner. Keith Mitchell appointed Eric Resteiner to a diplomatic post. He was subsequently revoked him in 2001. Resteiner is now being prosecuted in the United States.

Leroy Noel’s detention came two days after Keith Mitchell threatened him in public. Caribupdate said Leroy Noel is on a blacklist of six news media figures who are likely to be detained soon. The main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress, said that the government is "moving aggresively to also silence the local media".

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