Indonesian Parliament: President’s Statement on Foreign Press Is Reactive


Jakarta, Jubi – President Jokowi’s decision to lift restrictions on foreign journalists was not based on sound judgment, a legislator said.

House of Representatives Commission I member Sukamta said Widodo made this statement only to respond the international pressure following the arrest of two French journalists – Thomas Dandois and Valentine Burat – at Wamena, Papua due to visa violations.
“Jokowi’s approach is reactive, not substantive. It has something to do with international pressure after the arrest of two French journalists in Papua. It forced him to revoke restrictions for foreign journalists to cover in Papua,” Sukamta said at the Parliament Building in Jakarta on Wednesday (14/5/2015).

Separately, the Alliance of Independent Journalists of Papua said Jokowi had made the right decision.

According to Sukamta the government often made such reactive policies, including the way handling the foreign reportages about Papua. “Jokowi is better to conduct a welfare-base approach. This is more emphasizing the improvement of human development for Papuan people. so, if this approach is successfully developed in Papua, then the foreign press can do reportage freely,” he said.

He further said there’s no guarantee if the involvement of foreign press in Papua would give positive or equal news about Indonesia concerning to the ethic of journalistic about cover both side principles. “It’s simply like this, when it’s still be restricted, many foreign news were violating the journalism principles and confronting Indonesian at the world’s witnesses, how could it be if it has free access,” he said.


Sukamta also reminded Jokowi that Indonesia once released (at that time) the East Timor Province. Now it might be happened to Papuans; they might ask for referendum if the foreign press is allowed to come.

“Indonesia lost the East Timor Province under the leadership of civil background President BJ Habibie. If the prior civil president released East Timor, let’s not be happened with this current civil president to also “release” Papua,” he said. (*/rom)

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