5 Jun 2002

Former president says Kiribati bill aimed at increasing government chances

4:32 pm on 5 June 2002

Former President of Kiribati, and current opposition MP, Ieremia Tabai, says planned new media control laws are aimed at ensuring the government is re-elected.

The first reading of a bill giving the government more control over media has been passed.

The amended Newspaper Registration Act would mean papers which receive complaints laid against them can be closed.

Mr Tabai owns the only independent newspaper the Kiribati NewStar.

He says the bill is directed at his party's monthly newspaper but would also impact the NewStar.

Mr Tabai, who is a former president, says the bill is a government attempt to increase their chances in November's elections.

"People are getting other information from other sources and obviously they don't like that and with our political newspaper we know its competition to their own and this is vitally important now because the general election and it's going to make their job far much harder to retain government. The timing in my view is linked to the next election"

Ieremia Tabai.