20 Jun 2012

International media watchdog says Kiribati Independent victim of police harrassment

12:49 pm on 20 June 2012

The international media freedom group Reporters without Borders says the Kiribati Independent newspaper is being harrassed by Kiribati authorities.

The newspaper, launched in December, is still waiting for registration despite applying five months ago.

It has continued publishing despite orders by the government to stop and there have been allegations the government is muzzling the paper by applying the law selectively.

Reporters without Borders says a recent police visit to the newspaper's offices clearly indicates harrassment.

The publisher's lawyer, Banuera Berina, says the police visited the paper's circulation agent on Tuesday.

"The police had seen him and taken a statement off him. Of course, I advised him to tell the police there is nothing wrong with what he has been doing and that he has circulated the papers upon my advice. According to my understanding, no law has been broken."

Mr Berina says he has written to the goverment saying if the law has been broken a criminal prosecution should be made.

The Kiribati government was not immediately available for comment.