The Jakarta Post
National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Agus Rianto said that certain controls would still be imposed on foreign journalists intending to enter Papua to protect the country from any possible threats.
Agus made the remarks in response to statements by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who announced on Tuesday that he would relax access to Papua and West Papua for foreign journalists intending to enter those provinces.
"Our country has never been closed to the journalists of any country. But permits will still be there. We will see which regulations we can relax and which we can't compromise on," Agus said on Tuesday.
He argued that the police should still be aware of the possibility that some parties might pretend to be journalists to enter Papua.
"There have been several people who've pretended to be something they're not. What if they turn out to be terrorists?" he asked, adding that the journalists might also talk to people who opposed the government.
Last October the Jayapura District Court convicted French journalists Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat for abusing entry visas in 2014 after they allegedly filmed members of the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
Agus also stressed the importance of carefully deciding what information could be provided to foreign journalists, as it would be published in other countries and would be hard to counter.
"There are things we can reveal to them and there are some that we can't, as stipulated by the law, such as information on national security or national intelligence," he said.
He referred to Law No. 14/2008 on public information, and Article 17 on the kinds of information that could not be publicized but Agus denied that it was an attempt to hide the facts from journalists.
"The access for news is open but there are boundaries. We never restrict journalists. We merely manage them," he concluded. (fsu/hhr)(++++)
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