Pacific Media Watch

9 February 2018

KIRIBATI: International journalists banned from reporting ferry sinking

Michael Morrah interviews survivors Temake Ioane (left) and Ketura Matai. Their only children Remas, 8, and Tautii, 3, died while waiting to be rescued. Image: Newshub

AUCKLAND (Newshub/Pacific Media Watch): Authorities in Kiribati are blocking international journalists from entering the country to report on the sinking of the passenger ferry, the MV Butiraoi, report news services.

However, Newshubs's Pacific correspondent Michael Morrah reached Kiribati and filed this personal account from Tarawa:

"The ban is particularly worrying considering the ferry, which was being monitored by the Kiribati government's transport division, broke in half and sank three weeks ago, killing 93 people. 

"The loss of so many people is a big enough tragedy for any nation, let alone the sparsely populated archipelago of Kiribati. 

"More people were killed in the ferry disaster than died in the Grenfell Tower fire in London last year.  We felt it was worthy of covering the ferry tragedy by being on the ground.

"I've been travelling around the region as Newshub's Pacific Correspondent for more than a decade and have seldom run into issues like this.

" I've never been prevented from doing my job. But to my surprise, on arrival in Kiribati on Monday afternoon, it was made clear we were not welcome. 

Pacific Media Watch

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