Marianas Variety

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Marianas Variety News & Views
Type Daily newspaper
Owner(s) Younis Art Studio Inc.
Publisher Abed Younis
Editor Rizaldy M. Dandan
Founded 1972 (1972)
Headquarters Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
Official website mvariety.com

Marianas Variety is a daily newspaper published in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, five times per week. It is owned by Younis Art Studio Inc. Marianas Variety is a member of the Associated Press, Reuters, and the Pacific Islands News Association.[1]

Publication[edit]

Established on March 16, 1972, Marianas Variety News & Views today has a readership of 40,000 in the Northern Mariana Islands and 2,000 elsewhere in Micronesia. It currently has two sister publications, both launched in the late 1990s: The Palau Horizon in Palau, which has a readership of 8,000, launched in 1998; and The Variety on Guam in Guam, which has a readership of approximately 48,000.[1]

The Variety prints an average of 28-40 pages daily with full color capability and is distributed in the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia. It has subscribers throughout the South Pacific, the Philippines, Hawaii, Japan and the mainland United States. The newspaper's main competitor is the Saipan Tribune.

History[edit]

In 2003, the United States Environmental Protection Agency gave an Environmental Achievement Award to Marianas Variety News & Views writer Haidee V. Eugenio for "producing consistent, extensive, fearless and unbiased news coverage focusing on the causes, resolutions and preventions of environmental issues -- including the contamination of soil, groundwater, drinking water, seawater and air -- along with their effects to human health and safety."[2] In the past, the newspaper has received awards from the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists,[1] which no longer exists.[3]

Defamation lawsuit[edit]

In 2001, the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) held a gubernatorial election in which Covenant Party politician Benigno Fitial, then the Speaker of the CNMI House of Representatives, was a contender. On October 19, 2001, Rep. Stanley Torres wrote a letter insinuating that Fitial had accepted a $100,000 bribe from businessman Willie Tan. Three days later, the Variety ran a front-page article headlined, "Torres accuses Fitial of accepting bribe," with the caption "Fitial calls allegation 'absurd'". On October 25, Torres ran a paid political advertisement in the Variety which reprinted the full letter and added, "I don’t hide behind legislative shield to tell LIES. I don’t go to daily Mass and receive Holy Communion and tell LIES." Abed Younis, the newspaper's owner, approved the advertisement for publication. The newspaper also published paid advertisements from Torres vehemently refusing to retract his allegations. Fitial lost the election.[4]

In March 2003, Fitial and Tan filed a defamation lawsuit against the Variety for printing the advertisements.[4] Their argument was based largely upon Younis's personal dislike of Tan, who was a partial owner of a rival newspaper, the Saipan Tribune, and upon the Variety's failure to investigate Torres's claims further than the original article before printing the advertisements.[4]

The trial court granted summary judgement in favor of the newspaper; this was affirmed by the Northern Mariana Islands Supreme Court, which cited The New York Times Company v. Sullivan and determined that Younis Art Studio was not liable for defamation under the actual malice test. The decision stated that there was no evidence that the Variety had knowingly printed false information, nor was there evidence that the Variety had acted with a reckless disregard for the advertisements' truthfulness. The court ruled that Younis's dislike for Tan was immaterial to the case, as it had no bearing on the determination of actual malice, and that the newspaper did not have to investigate the truthfulness of the advertisements absent serious doubts regarding them. The court also rejected the claim that Tan's financial interest in the Tribune played into the Variety's actions, noting that there was no evidence of any such profiteering scheme.[4]

Awards[1][edit]

  • Best Newspaper, awarded by the Society of Professional Journalists-NMI chapter in 1995
  • Best Editorial Writing, SPJ-NMI, 1995
  • Best News Photography, SPJ-NMI, 1995
  • NMI Humanities Award for Outstanding Contributions to Journalism, 2001
  • Best Online Edition of a Pacific Island Newspaper, 2002
  • Environmental Achievement Award, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2003

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "About us". MVariety.com. Marianas Variety . Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "EPA to Honor Four Pacific Islands Environmental Heros" (Press release). United States Environmental Protection Agency. 21 April 2003. Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  3. ^ "Region 11 Chapters". SPJ.org. Society of Professional Journalists. Retrieved 22 December 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d 'Tan v. Younis', 2007 MP 11 (Northern Mariana Islands Supreme Court 2004).

External links[edit]