Weekly media round-up No. 20

The UNHCR has predicted that the number of refugees generated by the South Sudan conflict could reach 125 000, with up to 400 000 people internally displaced.

Indonesia’s military chief General Moeldoko has denied reports that he ‘agreed’ with Australia’s practice of turning asylum seekers’ boats to Indonesia. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa reiterated his country’s opposition to the policy, following reports two asylum seeker have been were turned back in recent weeks. The UNHCR warned that boat turn backs potentially place Australia in breach of international law. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison insisted that Australia's action is legal.

Defence sources have reportedly told Fairfax Media that the government is buying up to 16 hard-hulled lifeboats which could be used to send back asylum seekers intercepted on unseaworthy boats.

The Guardian has obtained documents detailing more than 110 significant incidents at the Manus Island detention centre between March and June 2013, including mass hunger strikes, serious assaults and attempts at self-harm.

Defending his government’s tight control over information on asylum seeker arrivals, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has likened the fight against people smugglers to a war. Scott Morrison has again issued a written statement in lieu of a weekly media briefing, and told SBS Radio that media conferences on Operation Sovereign Borders will be held ‘when necessary’. 

Nauru increased its visa fee for journalists from $180 to around $7000, making it one of the most expensive places in the world for journalists to visit.