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Sentinel goes live: Click to read St Helena’s new paper

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front cover of the first Sentinel. Headline: On the starting blocks.
WHO GOES THERE? Click the picture to read the first edition of the Sentinel

The first edition of St Helena’s new newspaper, The Sentinel, has gone online. Read it here (note: the link address has changed since it was first published on this site).

The front page splash is a week-old story about new TV channels, but one that came too late for the previous week’s Independent.

But its own inside-page opinion piece may yet make a hotter story: columnist Les Baldwin suggests there are too many dolphins in James Bay, and says island fishermen should be allowed to go back to catching them, in very limited numbers. Watch this website.

The St Helena Independent has also published its final edition, here. Or has it? There are calls in the letters page for editor Mike Olsson to find a way to revive the paper.

The paper also publishes an open letter calling for John Styles and Stuart Moors to resign from their senior roles on the Chamber of Commerce, because of their involvement in setting up the new government-funded media organisation in competition with a private-sector newspaper.

This website will run a story on the resignation call shortly. There are perspectives on the story that cannot be shared – at this stage – because they have been given in confidence.

In his farewell editorial, Mike Olsson recalls how the paper began as an internet-only publication in 2005. He says he has been overwhelmed by the messages of support he has received. Read comments to this website here – more views are welcome.

In a letter, Gregory Cairns-Wicks writes:

“What a sad day it is, being the last day that we the public of St Helena will have the opportunity to write letters and freely express opinions in a publication truly free of Government control. I wonder how many people out there can remember the days before the Indy started up?

“Back then letters to the Government run paper were routinely refused publication if they touched on sensitive subjects or openly criticised SHG.

“I am in no doubt that without the launch of the Indy we would still be today denied truly free speech. Mike’s publication has annoyed all of us at one time or another, but personally I have always felt that the benefits of an independent newspaper have continually and greatly outweighed any negatives.”

‘Exciting’ new media will benefit islanders, says government
State funded paper won’t be controlled from The Castle, says founder
‘The Indy challenged the government: is this why it had to be silenced?’

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