One of the more popular theories behind an incendiary Twitter account called the Republic of Nauru is that it is run from Australia by Lyall Mercer from Mercer PR. Mercer PR has for the past few years facilitated communication between Australian journalists as the government of Nauru, and last year Mercer locked his Twitter account after he emailed a police report revealing the name of an asylum seeker who said she had been raped on Nauru to journalists.

The account often tweets criticism of Australian journalists’ reporting on Nauru — while the government continues to refuse to give anyone but Chris Kenny a journalist visa – and has even gone so far as to single out ABC journalists for their reporting.

Ms Tips understands that Mercer PR is not responsible for any of the public-facing communications from the Republic of Nauru, including the Twitter account, but offers high-level communications advice to the Republic of Nauru. The Government Information Office in Nauru says it is in charge of the Twitter account. A spokesperson for the office told Ms Tips that the account was set up “for the dissemination of information for the benefit of the people of Nauru and also to clarify misinformation that is spread about Nauru by those outside of our country”. The email address associated with the Twitter account is a Hotmail account that begins “na*************” ([email protected] fits, but as the rest of the email address is redacted Ms Tips cannot confirm what it is).

“We hope that as well as keeping our people up to date, it will provide an insight into the cultural aspects of our country and also allow people to learn the truth about issues that are being debated in Australia that affect Nauru,” the Government Information Office told Crikey.

Subsequent questions on whether a journalist — who Nauru alleges works for the ABC, but the ABC denies this  — caught in Nauru working on a tourist visa had been detained or deported back to Australia were not answered by deadline.

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Peter Fray

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