President of Indonesia : Starting Tomorrow, All Foreign Journalists are Free to go to West Papua

President Joko Widodo and his wife (left) with two AlJazeera's Journalists Step Vaessen and Bobby Gunawan (right) and Jubi's journalist, Victor Mambor (second from right) - Jubi's doc
President Joko Widodo and his wife (left) with two AlJazeera’s Journalists Step Vaessen and Bobby Gunawan (right) and Jubi’s journalist, Victor Mambor (second from right) – Jubi’s doc

Jayapura, Jubi – ‘Starting tomorrow, (Sunday 10/5), all foreign journalists are free to go to West Papua. No more problem,” President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said to Jubi, answered a question on access of foreign journalists to enter West Papua which have been restricted.

President Jokowi added no longer need a special permit for foreign journalists who come to Papua, same as the journalist want to cover other areas in Indonesia.

“For foreign journalists there is no more problems. What else? Jakarta need a permit? No, no, no!” Jokowi said firmly.

When mentioned about Clearing House that had been limiting the foreign journalists to enter West Papua, President Jokowi said it will be no longer Clearing House. When asked again about his statement, the President said he is very confident on his statement.
“I am sure. I have conveyed to the stakeholders here, In Papua. Also the minister, Panglima and Kapolri in Jakarta. What is lacking?” he asked again.

Previously, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) specifically noted, until 2015, the freedom of the press in Papua is still restrained. Clearing House, an coordination institution in Jakarta has been used to restrict access to any foreign journalists who wish to enter West Papua. In fact, every foreign journalist who had permits to enter West Papua, often being followed or escorted in doing journalistic works. It made journalists are not free in performing public duties.

“AJI expressed restriction of access of journalists in West Papua will bring the worse impact for peoples of West Papua, and Indonesia. Restrictions would encourage the emergence of more sites are far from the principles of work of journalism that needs the verification and confirmation,” said Chairman of AJI Indonesia, Suwarjono in Public Discussion on Freedom of the Press in Papua, April 29 at the Press Council.

According Suwarjono, information circulating through the Internet, which can not be prevented from spreading, could not be verified by journalists as difficulty to perform his duties because of the restrictions. (Victor Mambor)