Home to a controversial Australian immigration detention center, the tiny Pacific island of Nauru is raising the cost of media visas to a whopping $7,100, making the Micronesian territory one of the world’s most expensive places for foreign journalists, Reuters reports.
With the previous rate set at just $180, the 4,000% hike is fueling concerns that media are being discouraged from taking a close-up look at the manner in which Australia processes asylum-seekers. However, a Nauru government spokeswoman told Reuters by email that the astronomical charge was only “for revenue purposes.”
The steady stream of refugee boats heading for Australia is political a hot potato, dividing voters domestically and stoking regional tensions. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s administration has been lambasted by human rights organizations for rounding up asylum seekers fleeing often war-torn nations by boat.