JAYAPURA (Papua, Indonesia), July 15 (Bernama) — The Papua branch of the Indonesian Independent Journalists Alliance (AJI) has said foreign journalists have found difficulties in getting permit to perform their journalistic duties in Papua.

Chairman of the Papua branch of AJI Victor Mambor said here on Monday foreign journalists such as from New Zealand, the Netherlands, Britain and Australia had to wait for three months to get the permit to enter Papua.

“Even after they get into Papua some of them have to be accompanied by a government agent in doing their journalistic duty,” Victor told Indonesia’s Antara news agency.

Victor said AJI criticised the restriction saying the government is not clear in its policy regarding freedom of the press in Papua.

“So far there has been no government regulation restricting foreign journalists from doing journalistic work in Papua,” he said.

However, foreign journalists have complained they had been restricted by making it difficult for them to get the permit to enter Papua, he said.

He said the government had deliberately created a condition of no clear regulation that the authorities could interpreted it any way they wanted.

Such policy could degrade the Indonesian rating in the World`s Press Freedom Index, he said.

“AJI has not seen positive reaction from the government to demand of international community for greater access by foreign journalists to Papua,” he added.

He cited in 2012, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told foreign journalists in Jakarta, there were 35 foreign journalists having given access to Papua in 2011-2012.

However, the journalists were not given freedom to perform their duties in Papua, he said.

“Seven of the foreign journalists were deported from Papua and most recently an ABC reporter had to be disguised as tourist to enter Papua,” he said.

Victor said Marty pledged to see to the case of journalists being barred from entering Papua, but foreign journalists had continued to face restrictions.


Jo Collins and Anne Noonan, Australia West Papua Association (Sydney)