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Journalist Field Speaks Out Against Kiribati Ban

AUCKLAND, New Zealand: A New Zealand journalist, who has been prevented from entering Kiribati to cover next month's Pacific Islands Forum meeting, says the ban will tarnish the country's international reputation.

Field, a reporter for the international news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), said the government regards him as an "undesirable immigrant" because it disagrees with some stories he wrote about Kiribati.

One story he wrote last year was critical about pollution in Kiribati and its effect on global warming. The other story was about a Chinese satellite monitoring base in South Tarawa.

In an interview with Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat, Field said the ban would do more harm than good for Kiribati.

"It’s a tremendous backward decision," Field said. "It shows a lack of commitment to broader principles of transparent democracy and good government. I’m extremely irritated."

Field said the ban reflects a larger issue regarding global human rights.

"Just as Australia hosting the Olympics has to take all-comers whether they want to or not, so when a Pacific country hosts a regional event, they have to take all-comers and people like me who may not necessarily say nice things about aspects of their life," he said.

It would have been the 11th Forum meeting that Field would have covered during his career.

+++niuswire

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