Manus Island & Media Access
MEAA has regularly sought improved media access to detention centres – as we detail in our annual State of Press Freedom in Australia report .
More recently, MEAA complained of the lack of information flow with regard to the media briefings about Operation Sovereign Borders following the militarisation of customs and immigration activities.
Then on February 4 we wrote to Immigration and Border Protection Minister Morrison seeking a meeting to discuss the near blanket imposition of the public interest immunity about customs and immigration activities and particularly the ADF in its border protection duties. We also asked the Minister to intervene regarding the escalation of Nauru’s journalist visa fees from $200 to $8000. We have not heard back from the Minister.
You will appreciate that gaining “access to Manus Island for journalists” is largely up to Australian media outlets to make representations on behalf of their journalists.
With that in mind, on February 6 MEAA wrote to the Australia’s Right To Know lobby group (MEAA is a member), urging them to join us in pressing for a meeting with the Minister Morrison and Communications Minister Turnbull to explore ways to improve information flow between governments and journalists on this issue with the aim of ensuring the public’s right to know. We said that we believed “a comprehensive industry approach may help in getting some movement in this area.” We have not heard back from any media outlet.
We are, of course, monitoring the situation and will continue to press for improved access and information. And, as usual, we will comprehensively detail our concerns in our annual State of Press Freedom in Australia report at the beginning of May.