News | Sunday, 30 November 2008

Photographers denied entry into asylum camps

The government’s recent decision to open up detention centres for limited access to the press has taken a major step back, by denying access to photographers and cameramen.
A repeated request by MaltaToday to have its photographer accompany a journalist inside Lyster barracks in Safi, was denied yet again by the Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs.
A spokesperson said the decision was taken after “one such visit” in September which caused unrest amongst the detainees “which in turn led to damage to property within the compound.”
“We have reason to believe that the incident was caused by the mere presence of a television camera, and the immigrant population wanting to put up a show. The footage was also aired.”
The spokesperson added that such visits could put the property and well-being of immigrants and detention service officers at risk.
“The visits by photojournalists and videojournalists will resume once the Commander of Detention Services believes that it is safe to do so. In the meantime, you are more than free to visit Lyster as already agreed.”

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