A running battle between the government and newspaper editor Sherry O'Sullivan resulted in her being barred from the country, prompting close scrutiny of the press climate in this tiny Pacific country. Micronesian authorities claimed that O'Sullivan was in the country without a legal work permit and that she failed to understand the culture and traditions of the island nation. O'Sullivan, a Canadian citizen and former editor of the fortnightly FSM News, called the government actions against her an attack on press freedom stemming from her exposes of alleged government corruption. The owners of the FSM News, then the only independent newspaper in the country, fired O'Sullivan in March when the government began its attacks and closed their doors voluntarily.

With the closure of FSM News, virtually all media in Micronesia are government-owned or controlled. In December, however, the first edition of the Island Tribune, a new independent weekly newspaper, appeared.

It is hoped that President Jacob Nena, who signed the order barring O'Sullivan, will take no further steps against journalists. In the past, Nena has been active in United Nations human rights organizations and is on record in support of a free press.

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