Nauruâ€™s commitment to democracy and the rule of law has recently come under question. The Nauru government, under president Baron Waqa and justice minister David Adeang, moved quickly after its election in 2013 to dismiss the Resident Magistrate and prevent the Chief Justice from returning to Nauru, while effectively barring journalists by increasing their visa fee from $200 to $8,000. The sequel was the indefinite suspension from parliament of three MPs for â€˜talking too much to foreign mediaâ€™, and of two more for â€˜behaving in an unruly mannerâ€™. Opposition MP Roland Kun has since had his passport cancelled, ensuring that he remains separated from his family in New Zealand. Continuing criticism prompted the Nauru government to suppress freedom of expression in May 2015 by directing the countryâ€™s monopoly internet provider Digicel to block Facebook and apps such as Skype. Under the amended criminal code of 2015, any statement deemed likely to threaten public order has become punishable by up to seven yearsâ€™ imprisonment, including those likely to arouse â€˜political hatredâ€™. Earlier this year the Nauru government cancelled all visitor visas for Australians and New Zealanders, then introduced new rules requiring them to find a Nauruan sponsor who can be fined or gaoled if visa restrictions are breached.
|Place of Publication
|Published - 2016