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Jakarta Post

Outcry over internet blackout intensifies as police report first death in Papua

  • Gemma Holliani Cahya and Ardila Syakriah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, August 24, 2019   /  09:30 am
The Jakarta Post Image
Activists participate in a rally in front of the Communications and Information Ministry in Central Jakarta on Friday. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

Papua is widely known for its poor telephone and internet network, and coupled with challenging geographical terrain, it is a difficult region for gathering and verifying information. But conditions have worsened since Wednesday when the government decided to block cellular services in Papua and West Papua under the pretext of security and maintaining stability amid unrest following racial abuse against Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java. Dozens of human rights activists protested the blackout in front of the Communications and Information Ministry building on Friday, demanding that the government lift the restriction. The situation has frustrated residents who want to stay informed about further violence erupting in their area. For example, witnesses in Sorong, Timika, reported hearing gunshots and tear gas being fired in their neighborhood. A witness contacted by The Jakar...