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Nauru’s ban on Facebook angers opposition and refugee advocates

The move by Nauru’s governments’ ban on Facebook has been slammed by the opposition and refugee advocates calling it an act of “dictatorship”.

These comments came after the nation’s internet service provider, Digicel, was directed by the government “to start blocking applicable websites” which the opposition said included the social network.

As stated, the governments ban on facebook was based on moral and religious grounds as part of a broader crackdown on internet sites that show pornography, particularly those featuring children.

But on the other hand, opposition MP, Mathew Batsiua, told Pacific Beat he considers the real agenda here is curbing the rights of the people to access social media and Nauruan’s from criticising the government through facebook. He also said it is where Nauruan’s express dissent and keep in touch with family overseas.

Batsiua dismissed the government’s suggestion that the ban was based on moral grounds saying the first reason for the ban by the government was a technical problem, now it’s all about porn,” he said.

This is all about Justice Minister, David Adeang, and his cronies being worried about the ever increasing number of people who have taken to social media to criticise his dictatorial style, which even the president is either unwilling or too scared to reign in.

He also said a lot of people on facebook are calling the government a “dictatorship” in the behaviour of shutting out members of the opposition, having an ineffective parliament where basically there is no scrutiny or debate on policies and activities and now curbing social media.

Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition, also agreed on the government’s dictatorship styles saying the shutting down facebook will severely impact the refugees who use the social media network in communicating with the outside world.

It has also showed in the treatment of refugees, the total power rests with the commissioner and there’s obviously no way of appealing against his decisions whether protests are allowed or not.

There is a growing disquiet among people in Nauru as they feel they are “treated the same way as refugees”.

The opposition said Adeang had revoked the visa of Digicel’s Nauru Manager, Lorna Roge, while she was off the island on business.

“She joins the growing number of expat personnel who have been shunted off Nauru for no given reason, other than Adeang’s personal reasons,” said Batsiua.

It’s a disgrace and the sooner this government calls an election Nauru can be returned to democracy.

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