Nauru officials back down, return media accreditation for 1 NEWS’ Barbara Dreaver

TVNZ journalist Barbara Dreaver released after being detained in Nauru. Picture: newstalkzb

YAREN, 05 SEPTEMBER 2018 (TVNZ) — 1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver, who was detained for several hours Tuesday by police in Nauru, has been allowed to continue doing her job.

Government officials had revoked her media accreditation for the Pacific Island Forum after she was spotted interviewing a refugee. But today her media credentials were returned.

Nauru authorities sparked an international incident when they targeted Dreaver, prompting tongue lashings from human rights groups and New Zealand politicians – some of whom suggested that we should consider stopping the flow of millions of dollars in foreign aid to the small island nation.

The Nauru Government later issued a press release taking issue with the word “detained” and suggesting that the reporter voluntarily accompanied police while they made further inquiries.

Dreaver, who said this morning she’s “just pleased to not be in a cell at this stage”, credited the police for being professional but said she didn’t feel she had a choice in the matter.

“I’ve been covering Forums for nearly three decades now, and this is the first time I’ve experienced this sort of restriction to this degree,” she told TVNZ1’s Breakfast today. “It’s important that news of the Forum gets out”.

Nauru is home to an Australian detention centre with more than 900 refugees and asylum seekers on the island – about 100 of them children.

The increasingly authoritarian Government in Nauru has targeted opposition MPs, the judiciary and freedom of speech. Before the Forum started, Australia’s ABC was told not to bother applying for a visa as the Nauru administration felt its coverage was biased.

Tuesday wasn’t the first time Dreaver has been detained while reporting on the Pacific Islands for TVNZ. She was banned from Fiji for eight years over a 2008 story that highlighted poverty in a Fijian village, spending time in a Fijian detention centre before being allowed to return home.