World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Concern About Draft Media Legislation

Reporters Without Borders Voices Concern About Draft Media Legislation

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) has voiced its concern about draft media legislation currently being examined by the Kiribati Parliament.

"This legislation would inevitably put a brake on the development of an independent, private media," says Robert Ménard, Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders. The organisation for the defence of press freedom has written to the Attorney General, Titabu Tabane, asking him to withdraw the draft proposals and amend the law to make it more liberal.

"If this legislation is adopted, it will stand in total contradiction to the Constitution of your country, which guarantees the freedom of the press and of expression," adds Mr Ménard.

According to information obtained by the organisation, the government presented draft legislation amending the law on the compulsory licensing of newspapers to Parliament on 30 May 2002.

The "Titabu Tabane" text in fact makes it possible to close down any publication against which charges are brought. It also requires newspaper owners, editors and printers not to publish anything which "offends good taste or decency or is likely to encourage or incite crime or to lead to disorder or to be offensive to public feeling".

The content of any published material must comply with standards of "due accuracy and impartiality". If an article "contains matters affecting the credibility or reputation of any person", the person in question is allowed the right to reply under the same heading.

Any publication that does not comply with these conditions, or that continues to operate even if its licence is withdrawn, will be considered to have committed an offence. If this continues, the offending publication will be liable for a further fine of € 300. The agency responsible for licensing media publications will be authorised to order the closure of any publication as soon as it receives notification that charges have been brought against it.

The government's initiative follows in the wake of the launch of Newstar, the Kiribati Islands' first independent weekly paper, published by an opposition Member of Parliament, Ieremia Tabai. The politician, who heads up this direct competitor to the government weekly Te Uekera, had also planned to found the archipelago's first independent radio station, and has already clashed with the authorities.

On 5 June, the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) reported that the government had issued a press release denying that the draft legislation was directed against Newstar. The government's aim was above all to "defend the ordinary person from false and malicious reporting by newspapers, especially those [...] that operate more as free handouts or 'flyers' than as commercial newspapers".



© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news