BBC journalist's passport seized over 'offensive' tweets

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta

Jakarta, posted: Sat, February 3, 2018 | 01:37 pm

Malnourished siblings Epi (left), Arfat (center) and Poma from Sarwamok in Agats district, Asmat regency, Papua, are being transferred to Agats General Hospital. The children were found on Thursday by paramedics who had been deployed in response to a recent measles outbreak. The journey from Asmat’s capital to Agats regency takes several hours by boat.(JP/Nethy Dharma Somba)

The Timika immigration office has seized a passport belonging to Australian journalist Rebecca Alice Henscke following her tweets criticizing the provision of aid for the measles and malnutrition outbreak in Asmat, Papua. 

One of the tweets in question was published on her private account on Feb. 1, saying food supplies given by the government only consisted of instant noodles, sweet soft drinks and biscuits.

Responding to the post, the Indonesian Military (TNI), which takes part in the health mission in Asmat, claimed in a statement released on Friday that “what she wrote did not reflect the truth. In the photo, [the food and drinks] are not humanitarian aid, but products sold by merchants and were accidentally placed [on the dock].”

Measles has killed at least 71 children in Asmat, Papua. Indonesia is now listed among five countries with the highest number of cases of child stunting, especially in the easternmost province of the nation.

This is the aid coming in for severely malnourished children in papua- instant noodles, super sweet soft drinks and biscuits. pic.twitter.com/0LJndBnHUE

— rebecca henschke (@rebeccahenschke) February 1, 2018

Henscke is a journalist who has reported for BBC Indonesia since 2006, according to her LinkedIn account. She has also reported for various media outlets such as SBS and Tempo, concerning in issues in Southeast Asia.

Immigration Directorate General spokesperson Agung Sampurno said in his written statement Henschke’s tweets were offensive not only to the government but also to Indonesian people, as well as marring to journalism as a profession.

“National immigration policy is a selective policy, in which only foreigners who bring benefit to the nation are allowed to visit and stay in Indonesia,” he wrote.

Furthermore, Agung stated that Henschke is now under investigation and surveillance of Tim PORA (Foreigners Watch Team).  (gis/ahw)

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