New Zealand reporter detained by police on Nauru after refugee interviews
Nauru New Zealand reporter detained by police on Nauru after refugee interviews
Barbara Dreaver was held for almost four hours, then released, after visiting a refugee camp
A reporter for New Zealandâs TVNZ was detained by Nauruan police for interviewing refugees on Tuesday.
The 1 News journalist, Barbara Dreaver, was with police for almost four hours after she visited a refugee camp while in the country covering the Pacific Islands Forum, according to TVNZ.
She was later released.Pacific Islands Forum: what is it and why have some media been banned? Read more
The Nauruan government refused to apologise, and denied Dreaver was âdetainedâ, instead saying she âvoluntarily accompanied [police] while they made further inquiriesâ.
It also revoked her forum accreditation but denied it was restricting press freedom.
In a live cross after her release, Dreaver said she was âfine and dandyâ after being released, and had been treated âextremely wellâ by police.
She said she had been told by Nauruan officials they were allowed to interview refugees if it wasnât inside the camp. Dreaver was interviewing a refugee outside a restaurant when three police officers showed up.
âThey asked to see my visa and said I had breached my visa conditions and h ad to go with them to the police station, which I did,â she told 1 News.
Her footage was confiscated, but she hadnât filmed much as they had âbarely startedâ when the police showed up.
âWhich in itself was interesting,â she said.
Dreaver is banned from the forum media centre and press conferences, but can keep reporting forum-related stories.
âIâm not allowed to report on anything to do with the refugees. My visa is still valid, weâre not quite sure exactly why Iâve been stripped of my accreditation.â
TVNZ earlier cited a World Vision spokesperson and said Dreaver was visiting a community camp and interviewing a refugee when security knocked on the door and asked if she had permission. She reportedly told security the prime minister of Nauru had said the conditions on speaking to refugees were relaxed, but they wanted it in writing.
She returned to the media centre but was detained after attempting to speak to another r efugee at a cafe.
New Zealandâs foreign affairs minister, Winston Peters, told reporters he was not across the details of her arrest but did not fear for her safety.
âSheâs got the attention of two consular staff, sheâs got a person from foreign affairs with her now, and we are trying to sort out the details,â he said prior to her release.Corruption, incompetence and a musical: Nauru's cursed history Read more
The Nauruan government said no journalist had been prevented from talking to anyone, including refugees, but that they had to do it through âproper channelsâ.
Those channels required journalists to apply to the government for non forum-related visits and be accompanied by a government representative at all times.
It claimed Dreaver âpotentially risked the safety and security of herself and othersâ by not following the procedure.
The government said it was not being âunreasonableâ.
âWe expect that some will attempt to portray this as Nauru preventing press freedom, however this is not correct,â it said.
âMedia from across the world are in Nauru and none have been restricted. Police and security agencies are genuinely concerned about safety and security risks should media take it upon themselves to enter refugee residential settlements where emotions are high.â
Nauruâs asylum seeker detention and processing, which it has operated for Australia for several years, has threatened to overshadow the regional forum.
Nauru had earlier announced restrictions on the number of journalists who could attend, warning them to focus on the forum. It banned outright any journalist from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Guardian Australiaâs applications to visit and report were also denied.
Last week authorities dismantled tents in the family section of the detention centre and moved people to community housing. Detainees and witnesses alleged the move was to prevent foreign visitors from seeing children and families living in the squalid conditions.Topics
- New Zealand
- Press freedom
- Asia Pacific
- Newspapers & magazines
- South Pacific
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