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Friday, 30 November, 2001, 11:26 GMT
Australia accused of censorship
Australia's main media watchdog has accused the authorities of censoring press coverage of the government's treatment of asylum seekers.

The Australian Press Council says journalists are routinely denied access to asylum seekers held in detention centres, most of which are in remote areas and run under tight security.

One newspaper editor Michael Stutchbury of The Australian said the government's action displayed contempt for political democracy.

He said it was an insult to the citizens of Australia.

But Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock rejected the Press Council criticism, saying the government was anxious about protecting the privacy of the refugees. He said their safety could be jeopardised if they were identified by the media.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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