Newspaper claims journalists still need special permits to enter
|Photo Papuan Activist|
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Oct. 14, 2013) – Australian newspaper The Age has rebuffed Papua governor Lukas Enembe’s statement that the journalist blockade in West Papua has been lifted.
Enembe said recently he wanted to welcome reporters and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to the region.
"Why not? There’s nothing that needs to be covered up. That would only raise questions… Please, come to [West] Papua. It’s open for everyone," the governor said in an interview with the Jakarta Globe.
However, the notion that West Papua had changed its rules on reporter and NGO access appears to be unfounded, according to The Age.
Following Enembe’s statements, senator Richard Di Natale from the Australian Greens, one of the Parliamentary Friends of West Papua group, said he would go to West Papua and that he would "invite a delegation of journalists and human rights representatives" to join him on the trip.
The hope for openness was squashed by the central government in Jakarta, according to The Age, as Indonesia still required journalists to apply for special permits to go to West Papua.
Journalists must apply to the Indonesian Department of Foreign Affairs for special permission to travel, giving all information about who they will interview, when and where.
Their application is then considered on a so-called "clearing house" meeting, involving 18 Indonesian government departments, including police and the military
Many applications for travel features to the Raja Ampat diving site are approved, but most applications for serious reporting are rejected.
Fairfax Media has confirmed with the Indonesian Department of Foreign Affairs that the "clearing house" process remains the only legal route to West Papua.