Facebook has been banned by the government in the Republic of Nauru over pornography fears

Opposition say the ban linked to internet porn crackdown is "dictatorial"

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Facebook has officially been banned by the government in the pacific island nation of Nauru.

The ban is being linked to a crackdown on internet sites that show pornography, “particularly those featuring children.”

The Minister for Justice, David Adeang, said: "Pornography is not consistent with our faith or our values.

"Nauru is a small country with limited resources, and we do not have the capability to monitor the internet like larger nations, so this move and our new laws are both significant measures.

"The size of our nation makes us more vulnerable."

Opposition MP Matthew Batsiua told Pacific Beat that this was an act aiming to restrict dissent to the current leadership and “the rights of the people to access social media.”

He said: “This is all about [Mr] 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 rein in."

Mr Batsiua also said that the current government were also "shutting out members of the opposition, having an ineffective parliament where basically there's no scrutiny or debate on policies and activities.”

Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and Cambodian Interior Minister Sar Kheng hold folders containing the agreement signed today to resettle refugees from Australia to Cambodia on 26 September 2014 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The million deal has been heavily criticised due to concern concerns refugee infrastructure and the human rights record in Cambodia.

A Facebook spokesperson told The Independent: “We have heard reports that people in Nauru cannot access Facebook.  We believe that restricting access to a free and open Internet deprives people of important economic and social opportunities and choices and hope that access will be restored soon.”

The Facebook terms of use specifically prohibit the use of its services to distribute pornography and anyone can report such material using report links, which reviewers can promptly remove.

Refugees housed in the Nauru detention centre who used Facebook to keep in touch with family members, will now be cut off.

Malcolm Evans, chair of the UN subcommittee for the prevention of torture, criticised the centre in March for violating international conventions by failing to provide adequate conditions and keeping children in detention.

Mr Evans said that the UN would be happy to respond to any request for assistance from Nauru and the subcommittee has called for the creation of an independent monitor to oversee the centre after a three day inspection.