REPORTER BARRED FROM PACIFIC FORUM SUMMIT

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PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH

HONG KONG, China (September 5, 2000 – AFP/Pacific Media Watch)---Kiribati authorities Tuesday barred an Agence France-Presse correspondent from covering the 16-nation Pacific Forum summit to be held next month in the central Pacific state.

AFP's New Zealand and Pacific correspondent Michael Field has covered 10 of the summits and had sought accreditation for October's forum in Kiribati.

Last year, however, he visited Kiribati and wrote of the extensive pollution, sewage and litter on the main island of Tarawa, where the forum will be held.

A report on a Chinese satellite monitoring base on Tarawa, little known outside the region, also apparently upset the government.

Subsequently Kiribati declared Field an "undesirable immigrant" and a request that he be allowed to cover the Pacific Forum was rejected by Pacific Forum media coordinator Rikiaua Takeke on Tuesday.

The forum has previously never banned any journalist from covering it.

This year's forum is tipped as being crucial for the organization’s future in the wake of coups in Fiji and the Solomons, both member countries.

AFP regional director for Asia-Pacific Pierre Lesourd condemned the ban on Field as "totally unjustified" and urged the Kiribati authorities to lift the restriction.

Title -- 2948 KIRIBATI: AFP reporter barred from Pacific Forum summit Date -- 6 September 2000 Byline – None Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- Agence France-Presse, 5/9/00 Copyright – AFP Status – Unabridged

 

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH

Reporters Sans Frontiers International Secretariat Asia-Pacific Desk 5, rue Geoffroy Marie 75009 Paris-France Tel: (33) 1 44 83 84 84 Fax: (33) 1 45 23 11 51 E-mail: rsf@rsf.fr  Web: http://www.rsf.fr 

PRESS FREEDOM ALERT September 5, 2000

AFP JOURNALIST DECLARED 'UNDESIRABLE' BY KIRIBATI

In a letter sent to the President of Kiribati (an island in Micronesia), Teburoro Tito, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) protested against the refusal to grant accreditation to Michael Field, an Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalist based in New Zealand.

The organization asked the president to go back on his decision and to grant accreditation to the journalist so that he could cover the Forum of Pacific countries Summit.

Robert Ménard, general secretary of Reporters Sans Frontières, asked the president of the Republic of Kiribati to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which among other things protects freedom of expression.

According to the information collected by Reporters Sans Frontières at the beginning of September, the government of Kiribati refused to grant accreditation to Michael Field, AFP journalist, for the Forum of sixteen Pacific countries Summit, on Tarawa Island (the main island of the archipelago) in October 2000.

In December 1999 this journalist was banned and forced to leave the island, after an article about problems of insalubrity in Tarawa.

Title -- 2946 KIRIBATI: AFP journalist declared 'undesirable' Date -- 6 August 2000 Byline РNone Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- Reporters Sans Fronti̬res, asie@rsf.fr, 5/9/00 Status -- Unabridged

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