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SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 7, 2001 - PINA Nius Online)---Nauru has refused to allow Agence France-Presse (AFP) New Zealand and South Pacific correspondent Mike Field into the country to cover next week's 16-nation Pacific Islands Forum, AFP reported.

The regional Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) is urgently asking Nauru authorities why Field was not granted media accreditation for the regional meeting.

PINA has regularly urged all Pacific Islands government to respect and uphold Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

The AFP agency report said no reason was given for Nauru's ban, but Field has extensively covered Nauru's tax haven banking problems and alleged links to the Russian Mafia.

AFP reported that the Secretary for Foreign Affairs in Nauru, Angie Itsimaea, advised by fax that Field had no media accreditation.

AFP quoted the fax as saying: "I wish to advise that permission for you to enter Nauru was not granted.

"Hence, your application for media accreditation to cover the Forum which is being held in Nauru would now not be possible."

Last year when Nauru's neighbor, Kiribati, hosted the Forum in Tarawa it also refused to allow Field into the country to cover the meeting.

Forum Secretariat officials stressed then that accreditation and immigration is handled and decided by the host country.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: 

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