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Jakarta Post

Govt accused of 'digital repression' after suspending internet access in riot-stricken Papua

  • Karina M. Tehusijarana
    Karina M. Tehusijarana

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Thu, August 22, 2019   /  02:08 pm
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Protesters take to the street to face off with Indonesian police in Manokwari, Papua on Aug. 19. Riots broke out in Indonesia's Papua with a local legislative building torched as thousands protested allegations that police tear-gassed and arrested students who supported the restive region's independence. (AFP/Str)

A number of human rights groups and civil society organizations have called on the government to lift the internet blackout on Papua and West Papua. On Wednesday night, the Communications and Information Ministry announced that it would completely block data access in the country’s easternmost provinces in order to “accelerate the process of restoring security and order in Papua and surrounding areas”. Previously, the ministry had only slowed down internet access in Jayapura, Manokwari and Sorong. In response, the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) started a petition on Change.org urging the government to restore internet access in the provinces. SAFEnet executive director Damar Juniarto said that the blackout violated Papuans’ digital rights, which are protected under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political ...