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Jakarta Post

Open access for journalists to Papua: AJI

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, May 3, 2015   /  04:41 pm

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) has urged the government to end restrictions on media access in Papua, as the world commemorates World Press Freedom Day on Sunday.

'€œWe urge the government to open access for journalists to Papua. There is no reason to isolate it from the world,'€ AJI head Sujarwono told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Sunday.

The government implements a strict access policy for foreign journalists to enter Papua, an area with a history of rampant human rights abuses. Journalists are required to obtain a special permit from a '€œclearing house'€ that consists of 12 government ministries and agencies, as well as the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police.

Indonesian journalists working in Papua have, furthermore, reported intimidation from local authorities.

'€œSuch New Order-style bureaucracy is outdated, as current technology allows information to spread quickly,'€ Sujarwono said, adding that a lack of information regarding Papua resulted in more bad press than good press.

Previously, the Jayapura District Court convicted French journalists Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat of abusing entry visas in October 2014 after they allegedly filmed members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM).

Sujarwono said that the media could help form a cleaner and more transparent government, as corruption and human rights abuse cases could not be uncovered due to the restriction.

President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo stated in June 2014 that he intended to remove obstacles for foreign journalists and international organizations to visit Papua, but has not mentioned the issue since.

'€œThere hasn'€™t been good synchronization between Jokowi and his administration. The clearing house should be disbanded,'€ Sujarwono concluded. (fsu)(+++)

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