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RSF Protests Against Banning Of Michael Field

NAURU: RSF Protests Against Banning Of Michael Field

Press freedom
8 August 2001

International
Secretariat
Asia - Pacific Desk


NAURU - South Pacific The government banned an AFP correspondent from the island

In a letter addressed to the president of Nauru, René Harris, Reporters Without Borders (RSF - Reporters Sans Frontières) protested against the ban on Michael Field, correspondent of Agence France-Presse (AFP) based in New Zealand, from entering Nauru Island to cover the South Pacific Forum. RSF urged the President to go back on this decision.

"Banning access to a country by a foreign journalist is a serious press freedom violation," said Robert Ménard, RSF General Secretary.

According to the information collected by RSF, on 6 August 2001 the Nauru government (Federal States of Micronesia island) prevented Michael Field, Agence France Presse (AFP) correspondent based in New Zealand, from covering the South Pacific 16-nation summit in the Nauru capital, Yaren, from 14 to 21 August 2001. This decision may be due to the publication, by the journalist, of articles on relations between some island authorities and the Russian Mafia, and money laundering.

This small insular State is considered as a "tax paradise", and is on the list of "non-cooperative" countries drawn up by the OECD for the fight against money laundering. Michael Field told RSF that this ban "targets him personally" and not the AFP.

In September 2000, the government of Kiribati, another Micronesian island nation, refused Michael Field accreditation for the Pacific Forum. The journalist had written an article on the insalubrity of some of the archipelago's beaches.

+++niuswire

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