23 May 2012

Pacific Media Centre says Kiribati government tries to muzzle independent paper

1:36 pm on 23 May 2012

The head of the New Zealand-based Pacific Media Centre says a Kiribati government order that the Kiribati Independent newspaper cease publication is an attempt to muzzle a small publication that has caused some embarrassment to the government.

The publisher of the Kiribati Independent says he believes the order, issued by the Ministry of Communications last Friday, is politically motivated because it has published stories that have upset the government.

The head of the Media Centre, Professor David Robie, says the paper was first suspended in April until required affidavits were presented but he believes newspaper laws are being selectively applied.

"It seems that the goal posts have changed because the indication given to them then was that if they did that, they presented the affidavits then they could carry on publishing. So it does seem to be that it's being applied particularly in the case of the Kiribati Independent because there have been other publications that have been allowed to publish once they had their affidavits presented."

Professor David Robie of the Pacific Media Centre.