View Full Version : What is Digicel up to in Nauru?

11-05-2015, 05:32 PM
In cahoots with the government to stifle dissent by the looks of things...

A former Nauruan president says the country’s government is paranoid about media scrutiny after access to Facebook (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/facebook) on the island was blocked.Last week opposition MPs reported that Nauru’s internet provider, Digicel, blocked access to the social media site. Residents on Nauru (http://www.theguardian.com/world/nauru) confirmed they were unable to use it.
The government said blocking internet sites was necessary to crack down on pornography.
The justice minister, David Adeang, said in a release (http://www.naurugov.nr/government-information-office/media-release/nauru-cracks-down-on-internet-pornography.aspx) Nauru was 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”.
Adeang said Digicel had been asked to block a number of websites, but did not specifically mention Facebook.
Former president, Sprent Dabwido, who was in office from 2011 to 2013, said Adeang and the president, Baron Waqa, had ordered Digicel to ban Facebook on the island “so that the Nauruan people couldn’t criticise them”.
The ban showed Waqa and Adeang’s “paranoia was openly on display”, he said.
Dabwido accused Adeang of trying to extend control over local media to outside bodies.
“We’ve seen what he’s done to our local media by taking away its independence and turning it into his personal mouthpiece,” he said. “When he finds he can’t do that with outside media, he refuses them entry, or simply won’t respond to their telephone inquiries.”
The block has made it difficult for asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru to contact people in Australia.

11-05-2015, 11:43 PM
Very disturbing if they are interfering with access to information. What woud the Australian involvement be in this, or the Cambodian one, given the re-settlement proposals?


17-05-2015, 08:35 AM
plot thickens


And Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says her sources say this ban on Facebook has nothing to do with the government of Nauru, but is a directive from the Australian government.

Blackout in Nauru was directed by the Australian government to assist its Cambodian resettlement policy.

19-05-2015, 05:01 PM
And an investigation into a detention centre on Nauru begins.

Senior managers of the Nauru detention facility have been unable to answer key questions at a Senate inquiry into abuse allegations, frustrating senators who described their lack of knowledge as "extraordinary".The Senate Select Committee on the Recent Allegations relating to Conditions and Circumstances at the Regional Processing Centre in Nauru held its first hearing in Canberra on Tuesday.
Disturbing accounts of sexual assault and squalid living conditions at the Australian-funded detention centre have been revealed in submissions to the inquiry (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-19/inquiry-submissions-reveal-conditions-at-nauru-detention-centre/6479422), which was launched after the release of the Government-commissioned independent Moss Review. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-20/no-evidence-charity-workers-lied-about-nauru-assaults-report/6336446)
The inquiry's first witnesses were from Transfield Services, the company that won a 20-month $1.2 billion tender from the Australian Government to manage the facility.
But many questions from senators failed to elicit direct responses, with Transfield managers taking them "on notice" — to be answered later.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who has been leading the charge in investigating the allegations, pressed the executives for information relating to the sexual assault of a young boy in 2013.
She wanted to know: "Who in your staff was made aware of that allegation and what did they do with it?"
"You must have that information," Senator Hanson-Young said.
But they did not.

19-05-2015, 05:07 PM
More from the Guardian today:

The immigration department was set to appear before the inquiry on Tuesday but will now give evidence on a later date.Hanson-Young said later, “The evidence today has raised serious questions about the extent of knowledge the department and the minister knew of women and children being abused, assaulted and exploited. A seedy and toxic environment has been unveiled and its clear the government has been trying hard to cover it up.
“Today’s inquiry and the lack of any detailed evidence from Transfield and Wilsons Security proves beyond doubt the need for continued pressure to be placed upon those involved in the running of the Nauru detention camp.”


19-05-2015, 05:26 PM
More from the Guardian today:


".. women and children being abused, assaulted and exploited." Reads like a description of a war zone. So shocking - no wonder they wanted a blackout on news.

19-05-2015, 06:06 PM
".. women and children being abused, assaulted and exploited." Reads like a description of a war zone. So shocking - no wonder they wanted a blackout on news.

Horrendous stuff.

At least two women have reported being raped, others have been forced to expose their bodies in exchange for access to showers, an independent report on immigration detention conditions on Nauru (http://www.theguardian.com/world/nauru) has found.In an 86-page report (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1689988-moss-report-review-conditions-circumstances-nauru.html), released suddenly on Friday afternoon, the former integrity commissioner Philip Moss also found “no information which substantiates” claims that Save the Children workers on Nauru encouraged protests or acts of self-harm.
Nine Save the Children staff were summarily dismissed at the government’s insistence after a three-page security report alleged, without any corroborating evidence, they were facilitating protests and sending confidential information off the island.


29-05-2015, 12:17 AM
Digicel is doing ok in Nauru:

Australia also regularly pays fees to corporations run by the Nauru government.
Digicel Nauru, which is part owned by the Nauruan government, received $3m for upgrades to telecommunications and internet infrastructure (https://www.tenders.gov.au/?event=public.cn.view&CNUUID=4A55E12D-A413-EBA7-5BE14BE650617032). Eigigu Holdings, a key holding company for the Nauruan government, was paid $5m for providing accommodation (https://www.tenders.gov.au/?event=public.cn.Amendment.view&CNUUID=D099C1EE-9396-44B9-82087CB8793A4CDB) to Australian staff.


Not everybody is happy though.

International human rights groups have condemned the Nauruan government’s recent attempts to criminalise political protest and censor web access, and urged it to lift restrictions.Nauru recently introduced a new criminal offence that could see political opponents and asylum seekers who protest against their conditions jailed for up to seven years (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/13/nauru-asylum-seekers-could-face-jail-for-protesting-conditions-under-new-law).
It also blocked access to Facebook (http://www.theguardian.com/weather/2015/may/11/facebook-block-in-nauru-a-temporary-restriction-says-government) and a number of other websites on the island, in what it described as a plan to stop “criminals and sexual perverts”.
A coalition of groups – including Access, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Human Rights Watch, GetUp, the Pacific Freedom Forum, Pen International and the Refugee Council of Australia – have signed an open letter urging the government to repeal the new offence and lift online restrictions.

02-06-2015, 12:21 AM
So it seems that Digicel's manager in Nauru had her visa revoked after a dispute over payment with the government. She was replaced and a few weeks later Digicel began blocking Facebook on the island. Hmm.

The Nauruan government revoked the visa of the general manager of Digicel just weeks before the provider began blocking Facebook (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/facebook) and other websites.Sources on the island say Digicel was forced to replace its general manager on the island, Lorna Roge, after a dispute over payment with the Nauruan government.
In recent weeks Digicel has blocked a number of websites, including Facebook, sparking criticism about press freedom on the island (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/04/facebook-blocked-on-nauru-due-to-paranoia-about-media-scrutiny-says-former-president).
The company would not comment on the cancellation of Roge’s visa. But in a statement released last week it noted the appointment of the new general manager.

“Today, Digicel announced the appointment of Ben Kealy as the new general manager of Digicel Nauru. This appointment means there is new vigour to deliver new and improved services to the people of Nauru (http://www.theguardian.com/world/nauru).”


06-06-2015, 08:46 PM