Friday, 23 August, 2019

Australias public broadcaster banned from Pacific forum

Baron Divavesi Waqa President of the Republic of Nauru addresses the United Nations high-level summit on large movements of refugees and migrants. sEP 2016 Turnbull won't intervene in Nauru ABC ban
Pablo Mccormick | 06 July, 2018, 14:07

Canberra's political journalists are threatening a boycott of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's upcoming trip to Nauru, unless the local government overturns a ban on ABC staff attending.

Senior Director of Global Operations Minar Pimple says the ABC banning is a "brazen" move and a clear attempt at suppressing critical coverage of its inhuman treatment of refugees at the Australian detention centre on the island.

Nauru has been accused of restricting press freedom by banning an Australian state-owned broadcaster from attending an global forum that the tiny Pacific atoll-nation will host in September.

Nauru had announced the ban on Monday, citing among its reasons the Australian Broadcasting Corp.'s "blatant interference in Nauru's domestic politics" and "continued biased and false reporting about our country".

The government of Nauru said it would not allow Australia's public broadcaster to enter the country "under any circumstances".

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The ABC ban has been condemned by the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery committee as an "outrageous restriction on press freedom", while the Vanuatu Daily Post said it would no longer cover the event.

In a heavily-worded statement, the ABC said it "does not intend to vacate [its] position in the media pool" despite Nauru's refusal to grant any of its journalists visas.

"We'd love to have you there", he said on Tuesday.

An ABC spokeswoman told the Sydney Morning Herald: "The ABC vigorously defends our role in doing independent reporting on our region".

The ABC planned to send someone as part of a three-person Australian pool to the September meeting.

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The New Zealand parliamentary press gallery shared the concerns expressed by their Australian counterparts.

The 49th Pacific Islands Forum is due to be held in the first week of September. "The Nauru government must not dictate who should and shouldn't be attending, nor should it be issuing guidance on what journalists can and cannot report".

"All Australians should be dismayed that the government of Nauru seeks to exclude an Australian media organisation in this way", Crowe said.

"If the ban is not reversed, the media pool will be disbanded".

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