PEN NZ condemns the continuing ban by the Fijian government of TVNZ Pacific Affairs correspondent Barbara Dreaver

MEDIA RELEASE : 13 June 2016

NZSA logoPEN NZ condemns the continuing ban by the Fijian government of Television New Zealand Pacific Affairs correspondent Barbara Dreaver. PEN views the continuation of this ban as an indication of the ongoing erosion of freedom of expression in the Pacific. New Zealand currently ranks 5th in the world in the latest World Press Freedom Index. This is well ahead of Australia, which ranks 25th out of 180 countries. New Zealand should take its place as leader in the Pacific on the World Press Freedom Index, to make a clear stance in favour of Barbara Dreaver and the other journalists currently banned from Fiji. In the last year there has been a marked erosion worldwide in freedom of expression.

Freedom of Expression is a right guaranteed under the European Convention of Human Rights. Article 19 of which states, ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression’. PEN NZ notes that this right includes the freedom to ‘seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.’

Background:

Dreaver is on a ‘blacklist’ of journalists banned from Fiji. In 2008 Dreaver was taken into custody after arriving in Fiji, detained overnight, and refused access to assistance from the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affair and Trade.

Following her detention she was deported back to New Zealand. For the past eight years she has been banned by the post-coup Fiji government, led by former military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama, from entering the country, except for a one hour special dispensation to transit through Nadi International Airport.

Dreaver is the TVNZ’s Pacific Correspondent. NZ Prime Minister, John Key, described Barbara Dreaver as a ‘significant voice’ of the Pacific.

Other journalists also banned from Fiji include former Fairfax reporter Michael Field and Australian journalist Sean Dorney.

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has stated he will not be lifting the ban which he sees as necessary to prevent the “wilful propagation of false information.”

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About PEN NZ

Dana Wensley Ph.D. is spokesperson for PEN NZ which is part of the New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc). PEN NZ is affiliated with PEN International. PEN promotes literature and freedom of expression and is governed by the PEN Charter and the principles it embodies: unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations. Founded in London in 1921, PEN International – PEN’s Secretariat – connects an international community of writers. It is a forum where writers meet freely to discuss their work; it is also a voice speaking out for writers silenced in their own countries. Through Centres in over 100 countries, PEN operates on five continents. PEN International is a non-political organisation which holds Special Consultative Status at the UN and Associate Status at UNESCO. PEN International is a registered charity in England and Wales with registration number 1117088. www.pen-international.org

CONTACT:

  • Dana WensleyD. PEN Spokesperson for New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) email: PEN@nzauthors.org.nz ph 021 073 9658
  • Kyle Mewburn President of New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) ph 027 862 1747 email: kyle@kylemewburn.com

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