The Government of Nauru has referenced US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s appeal for a check on fake news in a renewed call for media outlets in Australia and New Zealand to ignore false reports from refugee advocates.
Justice Minister David Adeang said a recent report from Radio New Zealand about an “attack” on a refugee community in Nauru was not only 100 per cent false but “a blatant copy and paste from a media release of a refugee advocacy group well known for fabricating news for their own political agenda.”
“I don’t know whether Radio New Zealand are incompetent or have some sort of agenda or both, but to reprint a false press release with no fact checking was irresponsible and shameful journalism.”
Mr Adeang said that the alleged attack “simply did not happen.”
“There was an unrelated fire involving a vehicle owned by a local person but this has no links to the refugee community.
“Furthermore, the report directly copied the press release wording that said refugees were living in converted shipping containers, which is also false.
“No refugee housing is or ever has been converted shipping containers. All housing is purpose-built high quality accommodation.”
Mr Adeang said Ms Clinton was right to point out that fake news had real consequences.
“These reports have a detrimental emotional effect on the peaceful people of Nauru who are being wrongly portrayed as violent by refugee advocates who care not about human rights but about political motives.”
“The media should be smarter than to believe these claims and should be more respectful of our nation and people.”
He also said that this type of irresponsible reporting was the reason certain media outlets could not be trusted to visit Nauru.
“We’ve allowed three different, highly respected media outlets to visit Nauru over the past twelve months with no restrictions or expectations, but we are concerned about the safety of all people on Nauru and would be putting lives at risk if we allowed irresponsible and disrespectful media to whip up trouble.”