6 May 2015

Watchdog says Nauru ban backfiring

5:03 pm on 6 May 2015

A Pacific media watchdog group says Nauru's ban on social networks is backfiring.

The telecommunications company Digicel confirms it received a directive last week from the Nauru government to block a range of websites, including Facebook temporarily.

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Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

The Nauru government had claimed the ban is to end access to child pornography.

The Pacific Freedom Forum's Jason Brown says a ban on Facebook to control pornography is a waste of time, given the controls and monitoring already on the site.

He says, in reality, it is an attempt to avoid debate on the critical issues affecting Nauru.

"The ban will have the opposite effect to what it is seeking to do which is stifle public debate. In fact it has got global attention, with newspapers, radio and television reporting it all over the world. Anything to do with Facebook is almost guaranteed a headline so if Nauru was trying to quieten things down, their ban has achieved quite the opposite."

The PFF says the ban is a dangerous threat to human rights and should be lifted immediately.