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Kiribati journalist suspended for quoting opposition

The International Federation of Journalists has expressed concern over the suspension of a journalist in the small island nation of Kiribati and called for journalist independence to be respected, after a Radio Kiribati journalist was suspended for 20 days for "disobeying management orders".

Radio Kiribati is one of only two radio stations operating in the island nation.

Ueretan Bauro was reported to have been reprimanded with the suspension after he aired a report with quotes from an Opposition Kiribati MP, Tebuai Uaai.

During the radio report, the opposition MP responded to a report in the Te Uekera newspaper that alleged that he had not repaid public funds following a trip in 2002. The initial Te Uekera report only carried the Government's allegations and included no response from Uaai.

The Kiribati opposition has condemned the suspension arguing that it is politically motivated.

The IFJ said: "Kiribati's government and politicians should never inhibit a reporter from exhibiting all sides of a story. Allowing for the free and fair dissemination and exchange of information is very important in small nations such as Kiribati with so few media outlets.

"We call for the immediate lifting of this suspension."

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