The Jakarta Post
Human Rights Watch (HRW) deputy Asia director Phelim Kine has said President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo should issue an explicit written directive spelling out Papua's new media freedoms and the obligations of government officials and security forces to respect it, otherwise he could not turn his vision into reality.
He made his comments in response to recent statements by two of Jokowi's Cabinet ministers, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno and Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, which contradicted the President's promise to lift restrictions on foreign journalists covering Papua.
'The willful ignorance or outright hostility of key ministers such as Purdijatno and Ryacudu will doom that plan unless President Jokowi addresses their obstructionism head-on,' Kine said in a statement on Thursday.
The rights activist said that on May 26, or just two weeks after Jokowi signaled a shift in Indonesia's long-standing policy on media freedom in Papua, Tedjo told reporters that a team including Indonesian Military and National Police personnel would continue to tightly monitor foreign journalists who reported from Papua.
'Purdijatno defended the agency's snooping by asserting that, 'We aren't spying on them [the journalists]. We're simply monitoring their activities',' he said.
On the same day, he said, Ryamizard explained that if access to Papua was granted to journalists, it came with an obligation to produce 'good reports.'
'Ryacudu didn't precisely define 'good reports', but he explicitly equated foreign journalists' negative Papua reporting with 'sedition',' Kine said.
"Ryacudu's solution for foreign media whose reporting displeases the government: 'We can easily expel them',' he said, quoting the minister.
Kine said that until the President issued an explicit written directive, media freedom in Papua would continue to be held hostage by those who preferred Papua's truths remained hidden rather than reported. (ebf)