AUCKLAND (Kiribati Independent / Pacific Media Watch): The Kiribati Independent newspaper has been closed indefinitely from today, the publishers and staff announced.
The Auckland-based Kiribati Independent website, which will continue normally, said in a statement on the fate of the Tarawa-based print edition:
On June 18, police officers visited our office to investigate the complaints of the Ministry of Communications.
Therefore it is appropriate that we allow the police to do their investigations so the Ministry of Communications can prove in a court of law that Kiribati Independent has [allegedly] breached the Newspaper Registration Act 1988.
Kiribati Independent cannot operate under such difficult circumstances.
Finally, we wish to thank our loyal readers and businesses for their support. We trust that this issue would be resolved soon.
Media freedom groups - including Reporters Without Borders, International Federation of Journalists, Pacific Media Watch, Pacific Media Centre and Pacific Freedom Forum - have appealed in recent weeks to the Communications Ministry to grant the newspaper a licence without political interference.
It is believed that the newspaper's sole distributor was intimidated by the police inquiries and staff have been subjected to threatening anonymous emails.
The newspaper's legal advice had been that the law was not broken.
The Kiribati Independent was the fourth newspaper in the country, published fortnightly and had a circulation of about 500. It was printed by the Catholic Church's Maria Printers.
Other Kiribati Independent stories on Pacific Media Watch
Aio te katanoata ni kaotia ba man te bong aei 22 n Tun ao e a in moa ngkai Kiribati Independent
N Tun 18, ao a roko bureitiman n aobitin Kiribati Independent ni karaoa aia kakae rongorongo iaon ana tangtang te Botaki ni Makuri ibukin Itoman.
Ma ngaia are e riai ba e na karaoa tabena te Ikotaki ni Bureitiman n ana kakae ba e aonga ni kona ni kamatoa te Botaki ibukin Itoman ba Kiribati Independent e a bon tia n urua tuan te nutibeeba
Kiribati Independent e a bon aki kona ni waakina ana makuri ian taian kaanganga aikai
Tia bon karabaia naba ara taan katanoata ao taan wareware ibukin ami boutoka. Bon ana koaua ba e na waekoa n tia taekan te keiti aio.
Publisher ao taani makuri n Kiribati Independent