New Zealand journalist deported from Fiji

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A New Zealand journalist has been deported from Fiji.

ONE News Pacific Correspondent Barbara Dreaver was detained at Nadi airport on Monday night, as she flew into Fiji to cover deteriorating diplomatic relations between Fiji's military regime and the New Zealand government. She was reportedly taken to a detention centre overnight, and was deported on the first plane this morning.

Fiji's military regime reportedly maintains a blacklist of journalists deemed critical of the regime. In June 2007, Fairfax New Zealand correspondent Michael Field was deported from Fiji after criticising the regime.

Dreaver has been in contact with her employer, and is not concerned for her wellbeing. "It's not very pleasant but it's just the way it goes here and this is Fiji now I guess," she said.

"I'm not the first journalist to be sent away from Fiji and I guess I won't be the last."

TVNZ head of news and current affairs Anthony Flannery believes Dreaver has been deported for her unbiased reporting of events in Fiji.

"She reports it as she sees it, and obviously she's touched a nerve of some people in high places," he said.

New Zealand is currently facing the expulsion of its acting high commissioner over travel sanctions imposed on members of the military regime and their families. The expulsion could result in a round of diplomatic tit-for-tat and the expulsion of Fijian diplomats from the country.

Fiji's military overthrew the country's elected government in a military coup in December 2006.