Reporters Without Borders calls upon Indonesian President to allow journalists to work in West Papua

April 5, 2017

From Radio New Zealand. 

The international media watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, has called on the Indonesian President Joko Widodo to keep his election promise to allow local and international journalists to operate in West Papua without obstruction or surveillance.

Tabloid Jubi reported this call came after the expulsion of French journalists Franck Escudie and Basile Longchamp on visa violations last month.

RSF’s Benjamin Ismail said the Indonesian president had undertaken to scrap the restrictions that obstruct the work of foreign journalists in West Papua.

But he said Jakarta’s repeated refusals to issue press visas and the growing number of journalists on its blacklist, shows it falls far short of qualifying as a country that supports freedom of expression and media freedom.

During his campaign for election as president in July 2014, Joko Widodo said he would allow journalists to visit West Papua freely, and raised hopes media freedom would be revived in the region.

Indonesia is ranked 130th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.