Two Australian journalists are being deported from Indonesia for covering the Schapelle Corby case while on tourist visas.
Ten Network correspondent Daniel Sutton and freelance photographer Nathan Richter will be sent back to Australia late on Friday (local time) after being picked up near the Corby family compound.
The head of the Bali Justice Office, Kompyang Adnyana, said the two journalists would be blacklisted -- prevented from entering Indonesia at all -- for six months, a period that may be extended.
Sutton said he had only been in Bali for a matter of hours on Wednesday to cover the ongoing Corby story, in what Indonesian immigration officials described as a random sweep. He said he had been doing a report from the street near the compound in Kuta when he was approached by immigration officials and asked to produce his passport.
“I voluntarily went to answer some questions on Wednesday and again on Thursday,” Sutton said. “I was never arrested and haven’t been charged with anything. It was a misunderstanding with my visa; they’ve told me I’m on the wrong visa and this afternoon I’ll be deported.
“I’m disappointed that I can’t keep doing my job and let people know what’s happening here in the case I was sent to report on, but I’ve been treated well by immigration authorities. I’m just disappointed to be going home.”
Richter was picked up at the same location several hours after Sutton. He had been in Bali for some weeks, often following members of the Corby family to photograph them. It is understood he also was never arrested.
It is unclear at this stage why authorities chose to conduct the sweep, but the interaction between the media and the Corby family in Bali has been highly controversial since Schapelle Corby's release a month ago.
In answer to questions why the immigration department chose to swoop now, when many Australian journalists have entered the country to work on tourist visas in the past month, Mr Kompyang said only that the department had been conducting their investigation as usual, and Mr Richter and Mr Sutton were "the two we found".
It is a difficult and time consuming process to get a journalist visa to enter Indonesia, so for fast-breaking stories, a number of Australian news organisations are understood to simply bypass the process and allow their staff to obtain tourist visas on arrival at the airport.
- Sydney Morning Herald