ABC vows to remain in Nauru media pool despite being banned by government for ‘false’ reporting

The ABC has hit out against the government of Nauru following the public broadcaster’s ban from entering the country for the Pacific Islands Forum.

Banned: The ABC will not be able to enter Nauru during the Pacific Islands Forum

In a heavily-worded statement, the ABC said it “does not intend to vacate [its] position in the media pool” despite Nauru’s refusal to grant any of its journalists visas.

The statement from Gaven Morris the ABC’s director of news, analysis and investigations said:

“The ABC does not intend to vacate our position in the media pool covering the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru.

The Nauruan Government should not be allowed to dictate who fills the positions in an Australian media pool. It can hardly claim it is “welcoming the media” if it dictates who that media will be and bans Australia’s public broadcaster.

The ABC vigorously defends our role in doing independent reporting on our region.”

Mumbrella understands the ABC has not yet finalised any plans for how it would bypass the ban.

The Nauruan Government yesterday accused the ABC of “continued biased and false reporting” against the island nation where refugees are controversially housed on behalf of Australia.

A Nauruan Government statement said: “No person can enter Nauru without a valid visa and anyone attempting to do so, irrespective of who they are travelling with, will not be allowed entry.”

Following ABC’s comments, the government put out a second official statement, accusing the broadcaster of being “arrogant” and “disrespectful”.

Since the announcement, the Canberra Press Gallery and other media outlets have pledged to boycott the Pacific Islands Forum unless the ban is lifted. 

The Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery issued the following statement:

The decision by the Government of Nauru to ban the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from covering the Pacific Islands Forum is an outrageous restriction on press freedom.

The Forum is a significant regional summit and deserves full media coverage from the Australian media, given it will be attended by the Australian Prime Minister.

The Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery was consulted to select a group of three journalists to cover the event. The ABC volunteered to take one of these positions. It did so in a way that assists all Australian media organisations, given most could not be part of the unusually small pool.

All Australians should be dismayed that the Government of Nauru seeks to exclude an Australian media organisation in this way.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – who will be attending the forum – has declined to wade in on behalf of the ABC, but has called the Nauru government’s decision “regrettable”.


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