Updated September 05, 2018 10:10:36Photo: Barbara Dreaver is the Pacific correspondent for TVNZ's 1 News. (Facebook: Barbara Dreaver) Related Story: Doctors reject Nauru president's claims refugee kids self-harm to game system Related Story: Nauru blocks ABC access to Pacific forum
The New Zealand reporter detained for talking to refugees during the Pacific Islands Forum says she did not break the rules of her visa.
- TVNZ journalist Barbara Dreaver detained by police while interviewing refugee at a camp
- Nauruan Government says Dreaver breached terms of visa and did not 'go through proper channels' to visit camp
- Dreaver says talking to refugees was relevant to reporting on Pacific Islands Forum
TVNZ's Barbara Dreaver said media accreditation allowed for reporting on the forum, and asylum seekers had become an issue at the meeting.
Nauru's Government has been sensitive to criticism about the fate of hundreds of refugees in the country, and journalists say they have been ordered to not interview them while covering the meeting.
But TVNZ is reporting the Prime Minister of Nauru told Ms Dreaver those restrictions had been relaxed.
World Vision told TVNZ Dreaver was conducting an interview when she was taken to a police station about 11:00am (AEST).
Dreaver said she was detained for four hours and her phone was confiscated while she was waiting in an interview room.
"I was interviewing a refugee outside a restaurant when a group of three police officers showed up in a truck and ordered me to turn off the camera," she said.
"They wanted to see my visa and said I breached my visa, I'm only meant to report on forum matters, and told me I had to go in the police car with them the police station."
The Nauruan Government said Ms Dreaver was not detained by police but voluntarily accompanied them while they made further inquiries.
In a statement it said her accreditation had been revoked for "breaching the terms of her visa". But it said she still had her visa and was able to report from Nauru.
"Nauru as a sovereign country has the right to protect its citizens and residents and we do not apologise for this," the government statement said.
On Wednesday morning, Dreaver revealed on Twitter that her accreditation had been reinstated.span contentScore="109"">>
External Link: Barbara Dreaver tweet: Just got reinstated at the Pacific Islands Forum. Now I can do my job.
The Naruan Government statement said no journalist on Nauru had been prevented from talking to any person, including refugees.
But it said "in order to protect the safety and security of all", journalists had been required to "go through proper channels in order to visit or go close to the refugee residential settlements".
It said other journalists had followed these procedures and had been able to visit the refugee communities.
"However this journalist did not follow procedures and this potentially risked the safety and security of herself and others," the statement said.
It did not spell out what the safety concerns were other than to say police and security agencies were genuinely concerned about safety risks should media take it upon themselves to enter refugee settlements "where emotions are high".
"We expect that some will portray this as Nauru preventing press freedom, however this is not correct," the Nauruan Government statement said.
She was taken to the police station and questioned. An official from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) was with her.
MFAT did not name Dreaver for privacy reasons, but said in a statement consular assistance was being provided to the detained New Zealander and family.
MFAT later confirmed to TVNZ Dreaver was released around 2:50pm.
Nauru is already facing criticism for banning the ABC from entering the country to cover the forum, accusing the national broadcaster of biased coverage.
Human rights groups have accused the Nauru Government of cracking down on opposition MPs and the press, and warn the small nation is taking a turn towards authoritarianism.
More than 800 refugees are still living on the island, and human rights advocates have warned their mental health has been rapidly deteriorating.
Last month, the ABC's 7.30 revealed there had been a spate of self-harm incidents by children on the island.
First posted September 04, 2018 15:02:47
This news has been published by title New Zealand Journalist Barbara Dreaver Detained By Nauruan Police While Interviewing Refugee
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