Mimi Mefo Takambo, who is based in Germany, said on Twitter that she believed she was denied entry because Australian authorities thought she might attempt to stay in the country.
“For some reason, the Australian Ambassador to Germany’s team thinks that Australia is heaven where I will abandon my job in Germany… just to remain there illegally. I guess there are many ways to attempt silencing journalists,” she said.
The official rejection letter from Australia’s Department Home Affairs reportedly stated that they were “not satisfied” that the journalist, who currently works for German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, had an “employment and financial situation that would provide an incentive to return following her stay in Australia or to abide by the conditions to which the visa would be subject”.
Ms Mefo won the 2019 Index on Censorship’s freedom of expression award for journalism.
That organization has criticized the visa decision, as have numerous journalists, Australia’s biggest media union MEAA, and conference organizers at Griffiths University in Brisbane where she was scheduled to speak.