Easing journalist restrictions on Papua must be backed with policy changes

Indonesia Partnership Mission Welcomes Decision to End Restrictions on Journalists Covering Papua and West Papua

[Bahasa Indonesia version available below]

June 08 2015–The International Partnership Mission to Indonesia (IPMI) welcomes the recent announcement by Indonesian President Joko Widodo that restrictions on foreign journalists seeking to cover the country’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua will be lifted. The IPMI strongly encourages the President to back his statements with concrete changes in policy to ensure that journalists are free to operate in all parts of Indonesia, and to take further steps to protect the safety of both foreign and Indonesian journalists, in line with the mission’s 2014 recommendations.

On May 10, President Widodo announced his intention to end long-standing restrictions on foreign reporting in Papua and West Papua. Although freedom of the press is guaranteed by Indonesia’s Press Law and its Constitution, foreign journalists have been required to obtain a journalist visa in order to work in the country. Journalists who wish to report from sensitive regions such as Papua and West Papua must seek permission from a range of government officials, including the military and police, which can be difficult to obtain. Authorities have also expelled foreign journalists covering these regions on the basis that they would disturb Indonesia’s national interest.

The IPMI visited Indonesia in December 2014 to discuss freedom of expression with media stakeholders in Indonesia, including the government, journalists, and civil society groups. The mission concluded with 19 recommendations, including that the authorities end the long-standing restrictions on covering sensitive regions. While the President’s announcement that restrictions on accessing Papua and West Papua are being lifted is a step in the right direction, more needs to be done by the Indonesia Government in order to fully guarantee freedom of expression, in line with its international human rights obligations.

The IPMI remains concerned about the safety of journalists, who face widespread violence and intimidation, and urges the government to make greater efforts to hold perpetrators of violence against journalists and media workers to account. The IPMI also reiterates the need for the government to provide better protection for digital rights in its legal framework and to do more to promote editorial independence and media diversity.

The IPMI’s full recommendations can be accessed at [ARTICLE 19, Committee to Protect Journalists,
Center for Law and Democracy, International Federation of Journalists, , International Media Support, Southeast Asian Press Alliance]

Signed:

Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) Indonesia

Article 19

Centre for Law and Democracy

Committee to Protect Journalists

International Federation of Journalists

International Media Support

Open Society Foundations

Southeast Asian Press Alliance

Tifa Foundation Jakarta

 

For further information, please contact:

Lars H. Bestle
Head of Department for Asia
International Media Support (IMS)
lb@mediasupport.org
+45 3841 7031
 
Kulachada Chaipipat
Campaign Manager
Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
kcchacha@gmail.com
+66 2 2435579
 
Sumit Galhotra
Asia Research Associate
Committee to Protect Journalists
sgalhotra@cpj.org
+1.212.465.1004 (ext. 115)
@CPJAsia
 
Michael Karanicolas                                                                                                 
Senior Legal Officer                                     
Centre for Law and Democracy                 
michael@law-democracy.org                     
+1 902 448-5290                                    
www.law-democracy.org
@Law_democracy
 
Edward Pittman
Program Coordinator
Open Society Foundations
edward.pittman@opensocietyfoundations.org
www.opensocietyfoundations.org
 
Judy Taing
Senior Programme Officer, Asia
Article 19
judy@article19.org
+1 (646) 725 1444
www.article19.org
 
Jane Worthington
Deputy Director
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Asia Pacific
ifj@ifj-asia.org
+61 2 9333 0946
http://www.ifj.org/regions/asia-pacific/
@ifjasiapacific
 
Suwarjono,
Ketua AJI Indonesia
Jl. Kembang Raya No. 6,
Kwitang, Senen, Jakarta Pusat 10420
HP 0818758624
R Kristiawan,
Tifa Foundation Jakarta
HP 087876370405
 

BAHASA INDONESIA

International Partnership Mission to Indonesia (IPMI) Menyambut Baik Keputusan Presiden Jokowi Mencabut Larangan Jurnalis Meliput di Papua

8 Juni 2015, The International Partnership Mission to Indonesia (IPMI) menyambut baik keputusan Presiden Jokowi untuk mengakhiri larangan jurnalis asing yang akan meliput dua provinsi paling timur Indonesia, Papua dan Papua Barat. IPMI mendorong Presiden Jokowi untuk membuktikan pernyataannya dengan perubahan konkrit untuk memastikan bahwa jurnalis benar-benar bebas dalam menjalankan kegiatan jurnalistik di seluruh wilayah Indonesia, dan untuk menjamin keamanan baik bagi jurnalis asing maupun jurnalis Indonesia, sesuai dengan rekomendasi IPMI 2014.

Pada tanggal 10 Mei 2015, Presiden Jokowi memutuskan untuk mengakhiri larangan bagi jurnalis asing untuk meliput berita di Papua dan Papua Barat. Larangan itu sudah lama diberlakukan. Meskipun kebebasan pers dijamin oleh UU Pers No. 40/1999 dan UUD 1945, jurnalis asing diwajibkan untuk memperoleh visa jurnalis untuk meliput di Indonesia. Jurnalis yang akan meliput wilayah sensitif seperti Papua dan Papua Barat harus mendapatkan ijin dari kantor-kantor pemerintah seperti militer dan polisi yang susah diperoleh. Pemerintah melarang jurnalis meliput Papua juga karena alasan mengganggu kepentingan nasional Indonesia.

IPMI mengunjungi Indonesia pada Desember 2014 untuk mendiskusikan kebebasan berekspresi bersama stake holder media di Indonesia yang meliputi pemerintah, jurnalis, dan kelompok masyarakat sipil. IPMI kemudian menyusun 19 rekomendasi, termasuk di antaranya mengakhiri larangan peliputan di daerah sensitif. IPMI melihat bahwa keputusan Presiden Jokowi tersebut merupakan langkah maju. Yang lebih lanjut perlu dilakukan Pemerintah Indonesia adalah menjamin kebebasan berekspresi yang sesuai dengan standar HAM internasional.

IPMI masih prihatin dengan keamanan jurnalis yang masih menghadapi banyak ancaman kekerasan dan intimidasi. IPMI menyerukan perlunya pemerintah lebih berupaya untuk memroses pelaku kekerasan terhadap jurnalis dan pekerja media lainnya. IPMI juga menekankan kembali perlunya pemerintah memberikan perlindungan lebih pada hak-hak digital ke dalam kerangka hukum dan untuk lebih memromosikan independensi dan keragaman media.