Sky News is the latest media network to be granted access to report on Nauru, the home of hundreds of asylum seekers picked up by boat in or near Australian waters.
Reporter Laura Jayes is on the island, along with cameraman Josh Brown. Their presence was first reported on The Guardian yesterday.
Jayes is the most centrist of the three reporters so far granted access. Chris Kenny, of The Australian, is an advocate of offshore detention, as is A Current Affair’s Caroline Marcus (who, incidentally, is soon to join Sky News herself). Still, press gallery sources were not particularly surprised by Jayes’ attendance on the island, describing her as being close to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.
The issue of who is and isn’t granted a visa to report on Nauru is of keen interest to reporters, as many Australian media outlets have been denied access. The Nauruan government, which frequently attacks coverage from the ABC, Fairfax and The Guardian on asylum seeker issues, appears keen to limit access, having in 2014 raised the non-refundable visa application fee from $200 to $8000. Asked about whether he had paid the fee at a public forum last month, Kenny dismissed the question. “I don’t know about the fee. I got the visa, I went in. If there was a visa fee my employer would have played it,” he said.
“I figured, given my background [in media and politics], given my knowledge, given I was on the public record as not being antithetic to this particular policy, then I just might be able to get in.” — Myriam Robin