Speaker to decide this week on journalist ban

Thursday June 25, 2020 Written by Published in Politics

Parliament’s Speaker is to decide this week whether a Cook Islands News article was incorrect and unfair and if the newspaper’s political journalist will be barred from Parliament.

Speaker Niki Rattle said she would review the Hansard recording, livestream video and the newspaper article and make a decision, as a Parliamentary motion required

“Since Parliament is sitting all of this week, I hope to reach a decision by Friday,” Rattle said.

On Monday, a motion was passed by the majority in Parliament criticising a Cook Islands News’ report. The article reported Opposition MP Terepai Maoate Jnr seeking payment of his spousal allowance entitlement, and asking whether outer island MPs living in their constituencies were entitled to same privilege as those living on Rarotonga.

Tai Tura, who is also the Deputy Speaker, told Parliament he was “disappointed and a bit mad with the newspaper” for blaming all MPs.

Prime Minister Henry Puna said the article’s headline suggested “quite clearly and intentionally that all honourable members of this House are just concerned about looking after ourselves during this difficult time”.

Puna acknowledged that Cook Islands News said the report was accurate and factual. “I beg to differ,” he said.

“It’s really pointing a finger at all of us here at this House that we are seeking a top-up or an increase in our allowance.” 

“We have a responsibility to ensure that the media is responsible in their reporting of our proceedings in this House without sensationalising anything that they report. Because that headline certainly achieves that.”

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