10 Jan 2014

Nauru journalist visa fee could set a worrying precedent

8:29 am on 10 January 2014

A Pacific media expert says Nauru's plan to charge 8,000 Australian dollars for a foreign journalist's visa application fee could set a concerning precedent for other Pacific nations.

The Nauru government has confirmed the fee will be raised by almost 4,000 percent for revenue purposes, and will come into force after it has been gazetted.

A Queensland University of Technology academic, Mark Hayes, says the price hike will deter even the most well-funded media outlets from applying, especially as the fee is non-refundable.

He says this could result in poor coverage of the country's issues.

Mr Hayes says other Pacific governments may follow suit.

"Other countries that might object to having unfortunate stories, or stories that Pacific governments might not like widely reported could see this as a precedent and increase their specific journalist visa requirements or costs."

Dr Mark Hayes says the Nauru government should explain why the journalist visa fee has increased, while business and tourist visas have not.