NAURU: Majuro newspaper slams suspension of outspoken MPs
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
NAURU (Marshall Islands Journal / Pacific Media Watch / SBS): The Marshall Islands Journal newspaper has published a scathing editorial about the suspension of three opposition members of Parliament who were found "guilty" recently of giving interviews to the foreign press.
The suspended MPs are former foreign minister Kieren Keke, Mathew Batsiua and Roland Kun who were accused by the Nauru government of "intending to inflict maximum damage to Nauru's reputation".
They are now suspended until they release a written apology to the international press and "renounce their earlier comments as contrary to the national interest", SBS reported.
Earlier this year, the government attempted to make it unaffordable for the international media to investigate Australia's deportation camp in Nauru by instituting a non-refundable $8000 visa application fee for international journalists.
The editorial in the Marshall Islands Journal, the country's leading weekly newspaper, said:
If this is the way the Nauru government treats its own members of Parliament, I certainly wouldn’t want to be an imprisoned refugee depending on their kindness,” commented one wag in Majuro recently.
The wag was referring to the abominable treatment being doled out by the majority party in Nauru’s Parliament against three opposition members “guilty” of talking to foreign journalists. The government treats such conversations as treason and went to the extreme of ordering the removal of one opposition member from Parliament for what they consider unacceptable disobedience.
Unfortunately, this is not a new tactic of the Republic of Nauru. In the years since independence in 1968, similar vacations from normally accepted democratic guidelines have been taken. Unfortunately, such dalliances all too often are reported as humorous incidents because they are so glaringly inappropriate.
Recently, for example, Nauru introduced an $8000 fee to be paid by any journalist wishing to interview anyone in the Republic. Ha, ha! Except their behavior isn’t funny and should be treated for what it is: a shameful indication of unacceptable behavior.
To wit, we suggest the following: establish and apply a set of sanctions against Nauru, sanctions such as removal of landing rights for Our Airline, restrictions on Nauruans getting visas for travel, refusal to provide economic assistance. Nauru’s behavior is laughable up to the point wherein it affects you personally. Let’s treat it like the scourge it really is.
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