16 Mar 2006

Kiribati journalist loses appeal against sacking

2:46 pm on 16 March 2006

A former state radio journalist in Kiribati has lost his appeal against the government for wrongful dismissal.

Taberannang Korauaba was appealing against the decision of the Board of Directors of the Broadcasting and Publications Authority or BPA, which sacked him after he failed to reveal a source.

Mr Korauaba had written a story about an outstanding advance loan for government services held by the auditor general worth over a million US dollars.

The Board dismissed him saying he had violated conditions of service by refusing to carry out official instructions.

Mr Korauaba says he was surprised that he had lost his appeal and said that press freedom at the BPA has been steadily worsening.

"They change from the good to bad. There are no more investigative and good and hard stories in Kiribati at the moment. The reporters in Kiribati, especially the BPA ones, they punish reporters, suspend them - it gives them the message to the reporters that there's something they cannot do, especially in the reporting of hard stories."