Saturday, 17 May 2014

NAURU: PFF calls for MPs' suspension to be lifted

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands 18 May 2014 - The Parliament in Nauru must immediately lift its suspension of three opposition members, states the Pacific Freedom Forum.

"Constitutional freedoms of speech include the right for citizens to speak to any news media, anywhere, at any time," says PFF Chair Titi Gabi.

"Government in Nauru is deeply mistaken to suggest that its elected representatives lack these same rights."
Opposition MPs were suspended for criticising the Nauru government's refugee centre and revoking visas for the country's top judges.

Speaking from Port Moresby, Gabi says that Nauru is in a difficult position. "PFF shares the deep alarm expressed by ordinary citizens of Nauru and calls for steps to be taken to ensure their voices are heard, considered, and acted upon."

PFF co-Chair Monica Miller says that government claims against the opposition MPs shows the dangers of a lack of information.

"Governments in Nauru have long denied open access to the public broadcaster.

"Lack of scrutiny has contributed to a situation where the government apparently believes it can do no wrong." 

Miller says the Nauru situation reinforces the dangers of cutting back on regional news sources, such as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"We welcome the call by the Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Biship, for Nauru to recognise that robust public debate underpins democratic development."

"But it is not enough to say the words, they must also be acted upon."

PFF has previously called for independent news from public broadcasters in the Pacific Islands to be given higher priority in regional development efforts.


Nauru MP dragged out of Parliament for comments to foreign media
Nauru breaching international law, says UN
Australian foreign minister calls on Nauru to uphold free speech over
MP suspensions
Nauru Parliament erupts into chaos after opposition MPs suspended for
speaking to ABC, foreign media
Nauru defends MP suspension


PFF CHAIR | Titi Gabi | Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea | PO Box 7776, Boroko, NCD, PNG | Mob: +675 70686875 |

PFF CO-CHAIR | Monica Miller KHJ Radio | Pago Pago, America Samoa | Mob: +684 258 4197 | Office: +684 633 7793 | 

The Pacific Freedom Forum is a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media. We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance. In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.

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