The Jakarta Post
An international law expert with the University of Indonesia, Hikmahanto Juwana, is calling on all elements within society not to be wary of foreign journalists, especially those assigned to report on Papua and West Papua.
'Both local and foreign journalists work to get news stories. It doesn't matter as long as journalists and media outlets have professional attitudes and are balanced [in their reporting],' he said as quoted by Antara news agency in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Hikmahanto said foreign journalists' access to Papua had been enthusiastically welcomed by international media outlets because they could now get information directly from primary sources.
Therefore, he said, President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's decision to open access to Papua for foreign journalists had positive impacts on Indonesia. It was hoped that such appreciation from the international community could help eliminate negative perceptions of Indonesia, especially regarding Papua-related issues.
Hikmahanto said, however, that foreign journalists who wanted to report on Indonesia, including Papua, must follow the prevailing codes of ethics and journalistic principles in Indonesia.
'There should not be any discrimination. Foreign journalists and media outlets are subject to sanctions from the Indonesian Press Council if found guilty of violating the Journalistic Code of Ethics. It doesn't mean that because they are foreign journalists, they should get special treatment,' said Hikmahanto.
On May 10, President Jokowi announced the revocation of restrictions on foreign journalists entering Papua. Indonesia had long taken a cautious approach toward foreign journalists wanting to enter the territory.
In 2014, two French journalists, Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat, were arrested and jailed for entering and reporting on Papua without permits. The journalists were caught trying to make a documentary on the Papuan separatist movement. (ebf)(++++)
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