16 Mar 2006

Kiribati government rejects claims of restricting media freedom

9:10 pm on 16 March 2006

The Minister for Communications in Kiribati says media freedom is excellent despite the dismissal of a state radio journalist for not revealing his sources.

Taberannang Korauaba lost his appeal against the government for wrongful dismissal after he 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 of Directors of the Broadcasting and Publications Authority or BPA demanded he give them the name of his source and then sacked him after he refused.

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

The Minister, Natan Teewe, says the decision does not mark the erosion of press freedoms.

"I will assure you that media freedom in Kiribati is excellent. But you have to look specifically and behind the scenes at each particular occasion to make a conclusion. And it will be unfair to just view the situation from the perspective of journalists because that's very biased.:"