Nauru ignored Malcolm Turnbull's plea for ABC to cover Pacific Islands Forum

The tiny island nation of Nauru houses an Australian immigration detention facility

ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN The tiny island nation of Nauru houses an Australian immigration detention facility

While government officials might privately daydream about banning certain media outlets or journalists from covering their activities, the prospect suddenly became very real in wake of the government of Nauru blocking a representative of the ABC from attending the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum.

Nauru, which has a population of barely 11,000, hosts a camp that processes asylum-seekers that try to reach Australia by boat under Canberra's hardline immigration policy.

Major media organisations were weighing the option of a joint boycott on Tuesday in response to the tiny island nation's decision to bar the ABC from obtaining a visa to attend the Pacific Islands Forum, scheduled for September.

The Nauruan government said the decision was due to the ABC's blatant interference in domestic politics before the country's 2016 election and lack of respect towards its president.

The government of Nauru said it would not allow Australia's public broadcaster to enter the country "under any circumstances".

We oppose the Nauru edict because it is wrong in this instance and because it sets a unsafe precedent.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had described the decision by the Nauruan Government as "regrettable", but argued it was up to local authorities to decide who was allowed in.

ABC's head of news said yesterday they were outraged by the ban and did not intend to vacate their position in the media pool. "The ABC will still cover the Pacific Islands Forum".

The 49th Pacific Islands Forum and related meetings is being held from September 3rd to the 6th.

"All Australians should be dismayed that the government of Nauru seeks to exclude an Australian media organisation in this way", said the gallery's president David Crowe. As the New Zealand Media Council states, "freedom of expression and freedom of the media are inextricably bound".

"The ABC has been pretty forthright in its critical reporting of the asylum seeker issue in relation to Nauru and this is an extension of that", Kingsbury said. "While infrastructure constraints play a role in limited pooling numbers, we are appalled by this attempt to control media coverage".

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