E tū stands alongside TVNZ Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver who was detained by police in Nauru earlier this week.
Barbara also had her credentials to cover the Pacific Islands Forum revoked. She was released after a few hours and then had her credentials restored.
Her crime? Doing her job as a journalist. Barbara, a longstanding member of our union, has also long been a committed and dedicated journalist bringing the stories of the Pacific to TVNZ’s audiences. She has reported on the region without fear or favour and brought her expertise, understanding and perspective to her reportage.
She was doing the same in Nauru when she was picked up by police for speaking to a refugee held in Australia’s offshore detention centre.
This is a story of huge public interest to audiences across the world and Barbara did not shy away from tackling it even though it has always been clear authorities in both Nauru and Australia are not keen on a light being shone on the issue.
While Barbara was detained by Nauru police, Australia too must take some responsibility for this attack on press freedom.
Barbara’s mistreatment is a timely reminder that within our close neighbourhood press freedoms we might take for granted in New Zealand are not so easily upheld elsewhere.
We stand in solidarity with journalists throughout the region who struggle to report the stories of the Pacific without the fear of facing authoritarian responses to their reportage.
We also welcome comments from New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters and National’s foreign affairs spokesman Todd McClay denouncing Nauru’s action and expressing how important freedom of the press is to democracy.