A leaked International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) memo exposes how the agency used a media article laced with several false, out-of-context and misleading claims, designed to paint independent journalist Rukshan Fernando and myself as extremists to stop us from reporting on a protest in the New Zealand capital last Tuesday.
Less than 24 hours after The New Zealand Herald released its article, published by an unnamed author, Interpol Wellington used the false report as ammunition to stop us from boarding flights into the country.
The communication, sent from Interpol Wellington to its Canberra counterpart, sought to fish for any information which could be used to sensationally stop us from reporting in person on the day.
"Interpol Wellington has received information that the two above named are believed to be Australian nationals intending to travel to NZ to join protest activity at Parliament scheduled on 23 August 2022," the email read.
"NZ Police would like to stop the two from entering NZ and URGENTLY seek any information regarding criminal convictions or any information tending to show they are individuals of bad character, associated to criminal groups and individuals or Far-Right extremism groups."
Despite being paid journalists reporting on news events all over the world, all of which are easily found online, Interpol went on to accuse us of 'posing as reporters'.
The internal communication was leaked to the country's fastest-growing media platform The BFD.
The incredible plot runs counter to statements made by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand's Immigration department, who pointed to a past criminal conviction as the reason for denying my flight despite the summary offence not reaching the threshold for refusal.
New Zealand media printed NZ Immigration's comments unquestioned, with Australian media outlets also picking up and amplifying the comments verbatim.
Other media outlets and commentators ran with a range of conspiracy theories to explain why I was refused entry, with the wild claims falsely echoed as fact across social media.
"It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character".
Article 3 of INTERPOL's Constitution.
However, both Interpol Wellington and their Canberra counterparts declined to comment on the leaked internal email exposing a breach of the organisation's constitution.
Fernando made it into the country and was on the ground to capture the protest march live, but only after his passport was flagged and the reporter interrogated at check-in, with NZ Immigration finally letting him in the country.
Ahead of the protest, Rebel News had reached out to the Ardern government to discuss on camera a range of issues the protesters have voiced.
Jacinda Ardern's Labour government provides the New Zealand media sector with a $55m fund for 'public interest journalism'.
Over seventeen thousand people have already signed a petition to let me cross the New Zealand border.