25 Feb 2014

Human rights group petitions for media access to PNG Manus Island

4:49 pm on 25 February 2014

An Australian human rights group says its petition calling for the Australian Government to allow journalists into Manus Island's detention centre in Papua New Guinea is gaining traction.

Ben Pynt is the director of Human Rights Advocacy with Humanitarian Research Partners, which is an NGO based in Western Australia.

Mr Pynt says Australia's detention centres offer extremely limited access to media and that must change, particularly after last week's riot on Manus Island.

"If you are from the media, it is impossible to get in and have any meaningful sort of visit. You are not allowed to talk to asylum seekers, you're not allowed to photograph conditions, that sort of thing. That level of secrecy has been taken to the next level with Manus Island, where journalists are not even allowed to approach the centre or take photos of anybody who is involved with the centre and we are trying to change that."

Ben Pynt says more than 33,000 people have already signed the petition, which will be presented to the immigration minister, Scott Morrison.

Access to Canberra's Nauru detention centre is hampered by Nauru charging non-refundable journalist visa application fees of 8,000 dollars.