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Kiribati Govt Denies Restricting Media Freedom

Government Denies That It Is Restricting Media Freedom

TARAWA (IFEX/PNS/Pacific Media Watch): The Minister for Communications in Kiribati claims media freedom is excellent despite the dismissal of a state radio journalist for not revealing his sources, Radio New Zealand International reports.

Taberannang Korauaba lost his appeal against the government for wrongful dismissal after he had written a story about an outstanding advance loan for government services held by the auditor general worth more than US$1 million.

The board of directors of the Broadcasting and Publications Authority (BPA) demanded the journalist name his source and then sacked him after he refused.

The board said he had violated conditions of service by refusing to carry out official instructions.

Communications Minister Natan Teewe says the decision does not mark the erosion of press freedoms.

"I will assure you that media freedom in Kiribati is excellent. But you have to look specifically and behind the scenes at each particular occasion to make a conclusion. And it will be unfair to just view the situation from the perspective of journalists because that's very biased," Teewe said.

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