by Victor Mambor, Editor of partner Tabloid Jubi
May 9, 2015
Iriana, President Jokowi with reporters from AlJazeera Step Vaessen and Bobby Gunawan (far right). Journalist from Jubi, Victor Mambor after doing an exclusive interview in LP Abepura (Photo: Jubi)
Jayapura, Jubi – President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo said began Sunday (05/09/2015), the access of foreign journalists to Papua is to be opened.
‘Starting tomorrow, (Sunday 10/5) for foreign journalists (to) have us open, No problem,” President Jokowi said answering questions from Jubi, on access of foreign journalists to Papua who have been restricted.
President Jokowi added that foreign journalists who come to Papua no longer need a special permit, the same as if the journalist was coming to cover other areas in Indonesia.
“For foreign journalists no longer a problem. What else? (in) Jakarta need a permit? No, no, no! “Jokowi said firmly.
When mentioned about the (Indonesian Ministry of Information) Clearing House that had been limiting the foreign journalists access to Papua, President Jokowi said there will no longer be a Clearing House. When asked again whether as president he believes in his statement, President Jokowi said he was very confident.
“I have conveyed to the ranks here. In Papua, the minister, in the TNI Commander, in Chief of Police, has it all. What is lacking?” asked President Jokowi again.
Previously, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) specifically noted, until 2015, the freedom of the press in Papua is still restrained. The Institution (of the) clearing house has been used to restrict access to any foreign journalists who wish to cover in Papua. In fact, every foreign journalist who managed to gain access to cover Papua, often are followed or escorted, doing work that (ensures) journalists are not free in performing their public duties. Local journalists were often intimidated and there even are some cases of murder of journalists.
“AJI expressed that restriction of access of journalists in Papua will negatively affect the people of Papua, Indonesia further. Restrictions would encourage the emergence of more sites that are far from the principles of work of journalism that puts the verification and confirmation,” the Chairman of AJI Indonesia, Suwarjono, told a public discussion on Freedom of the Press in Papua, on April 29 at the Parliament press office.
According to Suwarjono, information that is circulating through the Internet – which can not be prevented from spreading – could not be verified as journalists also face difficulties in performing duties because of the restrictions. (Giving full) Disclosure access to journalists in Papua will give the public information that is more credible and trustworthy, and also can also be the reliable eyes and ears for Indonesian rule.
Translated by WestPapuaMedia, edits in parantheses for linguistic clarity.