Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Asia Pacific Report

KIRIBATI: Government must front up over newspaper investigation, says media academic

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Item: 8002

AUCKLAND (Radio NZ International / Pacific Media Watch): The head of the New Zealand-based Pacific Media Centre says the Kiribati government must explain why a local independent newspaper is yet to be registered and is being investigated by police.

The Kiribati Independent stopped printing on Friday to allow police to investigate complaints by the Ministry of Communications that it had breached a newspaper registration law.

Professor David Robie from the Pacific Media Centre says the newspaper, which was launched last December, has not been registered despite following all necessary steps, and says the government must come clean on why that is.

“It’s very unfortunate, there’s a lack of transparency. Various international media organisations: Reporters Without Borders, International Federation of Journalists, Pacific Media Watch and others, they’ve all made quite strong representations to the Kiribati government but there’s just a silence.”

Professor David Robie says the problem is that the Kiribati Independent is perceived to be a political newspaper which opposes the government.



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Bad governments censor

When a government decides what is good news for the public without any mechanism incorporating the public decision-making on the issue - that is not a democratic government but a totatalitarian state.

If the newspapers slandered or libelled a particular person or cathegory - the normal course is a suit for defamation. The closure of the newspaper in a country where the court system is not free and fair is dangerous and the public are entitled to demonstrate peacefully.

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