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Cartoon by Andrew Weldon

submit their photographs, video footage and tape recordings to a government official for scrutiny before publishing. It is certainly unprecedented for journalists to be required to seek approval from a government official for material to be published. This is unacceptable censorship.” It was subsequently revealed that DIAC’s access policy had been partly modelled on US military rules governing journalists’ access to Guantanamo Bay.66 An article in The Age newspaper said that Freedom of Information (FoI) searches had revealed that a submission to Minister Bowen, from DIAC’s national communications manager, Sandi Logan, had justified the tight restrictions on media access as a way to safeguard the privacy of detainees, prevent publicity that could impact on refugee claims, and manage “risks that during any media visits detainee clients would use the media’s presence as an opportunity to protest their continuing detention”. The Alliance believes that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship is sincere in its desire to allow greater access for journalists to detention centres. Certainly, more journalists have been allowed to visit detention centres since the introduction of the DIAC deed of agreement than had been before. However the deed is overly restrictive and hands effective editorial control to government officials. We urge Minister Bowen to rethink the deed in consultation with the Alliance and other media organisations.

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2012 Press Freedom Report  

The Annual Media Alliance summary of press freedom issues in Australia