The Jakarta Post
Gerindra Party chief patron and presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto said that if he was elected as a president, he would open Papua, the country's easternmost province, to foreign journalists.
The former commander of the Army's Special Forces ( Kopassus ) emphasized that any foreigner could come to Indonesia as long as they adhered to the country's regulations.
"We'll see about the regulations later, but, [I think] it shouldn't be a problem. This is a free country," Prabowo said, responding to journalists' questions on the matter after he cast his vote at a polling station near his mansion in Hambalang, West Java.
Several presidential hopefuls have apparently focused on Papua ' one of the country's most-conflict prone areas 'to win the support from the electorate.
Other than Prabowo, who has been nominated by the Gerindra Party to represent the party in the July election, Jakarta Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who has also been named a presidential candidate by the Indonesian Democratic Party ( PDI-P ) also voiced similar support for Papua during a visit to the house of prominent singer Iwan Fals earlier this month.
"There is no reason foreign journalists should be banned from Papua if there are no existing laws that support it," Prabowo said.
In 2012, a human rights session at the United Nations Human Rights Council ( UNHCR ) recommended the government to allow foreign journalists to enter the country's resource rich land. The recommendation was included in a list of another recommendations provided for Indonesia in order to fulfill its commitment to protect and uphold human rights in the country. ( ebf )