Former Nauru leader slams current leadership
A former Nauru president says the current government is hypocritical in its criticism of media.
A former President of Nauru has accused the current President and justice minister of hypocrisy after they criticised media coverage of the government.
The current President, Baron Waqa, says he is fed up with outsiders using Nauru as a punching bag.
Sprent Dabwido governed for two years to 2013, but is one of five opposition MPs suspended by the current administration.
He says it's hypocritical to blame international media, when the justice minister is maintaining a blanket local and international media ban.
Mr Dabwido says last week's apparent move to ban Facebook on the island is aimed at stopping criticism by locals online.
The government has denied the ban but Facebook says it appears access has been blocked.
Mr Dabwido told Don Wiseman the ban is having repercussions around Nauru.
SPRENT DABWIDO: There's a big unrest on the island. The lies this government puts out are getting ridiculous. I speak with a lot of people around the island, mostly people who actually work at the camp. There is unrest up there. There is unrest on the island. Nobody is appreciating what this government is doing in terms of banning media.
DON WISEMAN: When we talk about the unrest at the camp. You mean people, the asylum seekers are unhappy because they no longer have access to social media?
SD: Everybody is unhappy, from the people in the camp, those are asylum seekers, those who are actually living on the island who have been classified as refugees. Nobody is happy if their communication to the outside world has been reduced to almost, probably just a phone call instead of having this great social network, and I get this from the Nauruans who work at the camp. They are saying that they are back in a regime where you know, there is dictatorship.
DW: Why is this government so opposed to international media do you think?
SD: I guess there is, that is a very simple answer to that. If you are a crooked person you don't want people knowing what you are doing. If you are up to something not good you do not want people knowing what you are doing. If you don't know what you are doing, you don't want people know that you don't know what you are doing.
DW: Are you saying this current government is crooked?
SD: I could say this, I have been in this government over ten years, I have been the President of this country, this has to be the most crooked government in the history of Nauru.
DW: Doing what? Can you talk about the specifics of its crookedness?
SD: And specifics, lets be specific, they ban media so there is no scrutiny from the media. These are part of scrutinising government. There are so many steps so many different levels of scrutinising government. One is media, media plays an important role and if you get independent media it is very effective. If you don't get an independent media then the government is less scrutinised. Then you have got parliament. Parliament is meant to be the most scrutiny of government. You suspended more than half of the opposition, you suspended five our of eight members, so what scrutiny are you going to get from the parliament. Then you go to the justice system, those to justices in the previous past that have been trying to do their work,. I quote from a caucus member. 'These people have to be removed, these two Chief Justice and his Magistrate. Have to be removed because they do not listen to government. So they were removed, because they cannot scrutinise the laws the government are passing.' Now after that, as the opposition, we have introduced leadership code bills, ombudsman bills as part of anti-corruption bills. And all of this has been rejected by this government. You know all these four of five stages of scrutinising this government have been thrown out. Then they actually use their own government media as their mouthpiece and they just go on and talk whatever they want, they say whatever they want with no scrutiny.
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