Nauru assures Forum Chair about visa for journalists
Nauru President Baron Waqa has indicated an $8,000 visa fee for journalists will be waived when his country hosts the Pacific Islands Forum next year.
He was responding to questions raised by the regional media at the conclusion of the Pacific Forum Leaders meeting in Apia earlier this month.
Currently, journalists have to pay a non-refundable $8,000 application fee for a visa to enter Nauru.
And President Waqa has reassured the regional media and Forum Chairman Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi that Nauru will see to it that that the media will be welcomed.
He says that because the visa fee is already a law and included in his country’s budget appropriation approved by parliament, the fee will also need legislative amendment to be removed.
“But let me assure you that we are working with [the Pacific Islands Forum] to make sure that you all get there,” he reiterated.
Only two Australian journalists have been allowed into Nauru in recent years.
The application fee has been criticised as an effort to prevent journalists reporting on the Australian Government’s policy of offshore detention for asylum seekers and refugees.