Media from New Zealand and Australia, along with countless online commentators, have roundly criticised the recent announcement by the Nauru government that it would increase the application fee for a media visa from AUD 200 to AUD 8,000. The fee, they said, is non-refundable in the event of a rejected application. Despite statements from Nauruan government officials that the fee was purely a revenue-generating measure, Australian politicians were quick to characterise it as a political ploy designed to ‘make it difficult for the media to access Nauru and to get information back to Australia.’ The UNHCR recently recommended that Australia cease sending refugee claimants to Nauru, describing the facilities as rat-infested, cramped and very hot.
Dan McGarry is chief technologist at the Pacific Insititute of Public Policy. He has worked in the Pacific for over a decade now, assisting in numerous capacities in the development of ICTs in Vanuatu and the Pacific. He has extensive experience in technology policy formulation and implementation as well as in traditional and new media. He still writes software.