1 Jul 2020

Cook Islands govt urged to revoke motion to ban reporter

4:13 pm on 1 July 2020

The world's largest organisation of journalists is calling on the Cook Islands government to revoke a motion to ban a local reporter from parliament.

Cook Islands Parliament.

Cook Islands Parliament. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The motion was moved after a report by Rashneel Kumar about the increase of travel privileges for spouses of outer-islands MPs.

The article was condemned by parliament with Prime Minister Henry Puna describing it as incorrect and unfair coverage.

But the Cook Islands News editor, Jonathan Milne, stood by Mr Kumar's article saying the reporting was both fair and accurate.

The International Federation of Journalists said the proposed ban against Mr Kumar was disproportionate and could become a precedent for the government to remove all media from any parliament session.

"The IFJ urges the government of the Cook Islands to revoke their motion to ban Rashneel Kumar from parliament.

"The continued media monitoring of government activities is integral to ensuring that parliament is representative of the people of the Cook Islands."

The Speaker of the House, Nikki Rattle, was expected to rule on the matter tomorrow.