The decades-old access restrictions on Papua are rooted in government suspicion of the motives of foreign nationals in a region still troubled by widespread corruption, environmental degradation, public dissatisfaction with Jakarta, and a small pro-independence insurgency.
Human Rights Watch interviewed 107 journalists, editors, publishers, and representatives of domestic and international nongovernmental organizations for the report. Foreign correspondents describe an opaque and unpredictable permit application process in which they often never received a final response. Many have waited fruitlessly for months – and in some cases years – for approval. 
Jokowi’s May 10 announcement has faced strong resistance by some senior government and security forces officials, Human Rights Watch said. The government has also not followed that announcement with a specific written directive, which opened space for non-compliance by state agencies and security forces opposed to loosening restrictions on foreign observer access to Papua. Various senior officials have since publicly contradicted the president’s statement. Even the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has announced that it has “liquidated” the 18-agency “Clearing House” that previously was used to vet journalists, has confirmed that prior police permission is still required for foreign media access to Papua. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in some cases also continuing to ask some journalists seeking to travel to Papua to provide, in advance, details of their likely sources and dates of travel.
Foreign correspondents have reported mixed results from their efforts to take advantage of the announced loosening of Papua access restrictions. For instance, after Jokowi’s announcement, the Indonesian embassy in Bangkok processed and granted in just 15 days a Papua reporting visa for Cyril Payen, a Bangkok-based correspondent for France 24 television. The embassy also assured him that he was not obligated to have any check-ins with police or immigration officials while in Papua. “Whether I was lucky or not, I don’t know,” Payen said. “They really opened up.”
However, a Jakarta-based foreign correspondent showed Human Rights Watch a copy of correspondence with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from July 2015 in which a ministry official listed both a surat jalan, or travel permit, from the National Police’s Security Intelligence Agency, as well as a “letter of notification” specifying the journalist’s “purpose, time and places of coverage in Papua,” as prerequisites for access to Papua. 
Foreign journalists who ultimately are granted Papua access permits often face surveillance and harassment after arrival in Papua. Several said that they were required to have an official “minder” from the State Intelligence Agency (Badan Intelijen Negara, BIN) for the full duration of their visits, significantly limiting their ability to report on issues deemed sensitive.
“President Jokowi needs to bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality by putting the guarantee of unimpeded foreign media access to Papua in writing,” Kine said. “He should make it clear to government officials and security forces alike that obstructing journalists is unacceptable in Papua and anywhere else in Indonesia.”
Indonesian journalists – particularly ethnic Papuans – are also vulnerable to restrictions on media freedom in Papua, Human Rights Watch said. Reporting on corruption and land grabs can be dangerous anywhere in Indonesia, but national and local journalists told Human Rights Watch that those dangers are magnified in Papua. In addition, journalists there face harassment, intimidation, and at times even violence from officials, members of the public, and pro-independence forces when they report on sensitive political topics and human rights abuses.
Journalists in Papua say they routinely self-censor to avoid reprisals for their reporting. That environment of fear and distrust is increased by the security forces’ longstanding and documented practice of paying some journalists to be informers and even deploying agents to work undercover in newsrooms as journalists. These practices are carried out both to minimize negative coverage and to encourage positive reporting about the political situation, and they generate distrust among journalists.
Representatives of international nongovernmental organizations, United Nations experts, and foreign academics have also faced official obstacles to visiting Papua. Since 2009, the International Committee for the Red Cross, the Dutch development organization Cordaid, and the Peace Brigades International have all limited or closed their Papua-based operations due to pressures from the Indonesian government.
In 2013, the Indonesian government blocked a proposed visit by Frank La Rue, then the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Diplomatic sources in Geneva told La Rue that the Indonesian government froze his requested visit due to his inclusion of Papua in his proposed itinerary. “[The Indonesian mission in Geneva] asked what areas I want to go to [and] I said Jakarta and bigger places like Bali, but for me, I said, it was very important to visit Aceh and Papua,” La Rue told Human Rights Watch. “They said ‘Great, we’ll get back to you.’ What it meant was that they postponed the dates and put the trip off indefinitely.”
“It’s clear from our research that removing access restrictions is not a silver bullet to resolve Papua’s deep-seated problems or dispel the suspicions of Indonesian officials toward foreign media and other observers,” Kine said. “But greater transparency and access are essential elements of a rights-respecting future for Papua to throw sunshine on abuses of power that for too long have remained hidden from view.”
Full Report at


4) NGO claims mixed results on Jakartas Papua media policy

Updated at 5:02 pm today
Human Rights Watch says Indonesia's new policy on foreign media access to West Papua has had mixed results.
It's six months since President Joko Widodo announced that restrictions on foreign journalists visiting Papua were being lifted.
While a handful of foreign journalists have visited, HRW says there is extremely uneven implementation of Jokowi's policy.
HRW Asia's deputy director Phelim Kine says that within elements of Indonesia's government and security forces, there remains severe resistance to allowing access to Papua.
"It's going to be a long-term process to bring those elements of the government and security agencies who have implemented these restrictions over more than a quarter of a century to step back and to allow foreign media to actually allow foreign media to actually have that unimpeded access that President Joko Widodo - to his credit - has announced should be the case."
Phelim Kine says foreign NGOs, UN rights experts and academics remain restricted from visiting Papua.
HRW is today releasing a new report, "Something to Hide? Indonesia’s Restrictions on Media Freedom and Rights Monitoring in Papua", which also documents regular self-censorship by journalists based in Papua and the security forces' manipulation of local media outlets.
Jakarta, Jubi – Wetar Island which is the outermost islands in the southwest Maluku and Papua will be the destinations of the Widya Nusantara Expedition (Ewin) in 2016, said the deputy for Life Sciences (IPH) Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Enny Sudarmonowati.
“Next year we are going to the outer islands of Indonesia, Wetar Island, and Papua” said Enny in Jakarta on last week.
The expedition will be much more expensive than the previous one in Enggano, Bengkulu. Therefore, cooperation between deputies LIPI will be further strengthened from the beginning, so that the funds collected could be far greater.
“Do not let the foreigners first that reveals what is in there,” she said.
LIPI committed to supporting the development of the eastern region of Indonesia. Therefore, Papua also will be a destination expedition researchers of LIPI in 2016.
“We definitely will visit Papua. There is a biological garden in Wamena who want to be upgraded to the botanical gardens. Hopefully, the Ministry of Public Works could soon build the infrastructure, so it can be connected to Lorentz national park “she added.
Wetar island has an area reached 3,600 square kilometers, is located in Southwest Maluku. It became one of the foremost islands because it borders with Timor Leste in the south.
Previously chairman of economic research network of Eastern Indonesia, Izzac Matitaputty, said the size is larger than the other islands in the archipelago there. Wetar better suited to be duty-free port.
He believes the duty-free port will not only open the door isolated outer islands but also will accelerate the economic development of communities in Southwest Maluku far from Ambon. (*)

Jayapura, Jubi – The National Sports Games (PON) XX to be held in Papua need extra electricity of hundreds of megawatts (MW).
Chairman deputy of the Infrastructure Committee (PB) PON Papua in 2020, Markus Boy Dawir said, it takes the additional electrical power for five clusters such as in Jayapura, Biak, Mimika, Wamena and Merauke.
He said, in Jayapura city, the available power is now only 27 MW while PON needs at least 100 MW. Likewise in Mimika, it takes 100 MW while Merauke, Wamena and Biak, at least 50 MW.
“In Jayapura city, the operation of power plant is expected in Holtekham, Jayapura city and hydro power in Grimenawa, Jayapura regency. If the power plant is already functioned, there may already be less than 70 MW,” said Boy Dawir last week.
Meanwhile, in Merauke electric power is now only 17 MW. For the needs of society, the power was insufficient. Not to mention when it was built several venues. But the Merauke district government expressed readiness to grant 10 hectares of land to the PLN for the construction of power generating capacity of 50 MW.
“In Biak available power is now only 14 MW and to be added up to 50 MW. We ask Merauke regency to immediately make land certificate to be donated to the PLN to fiscal year 2016 for power plants,” he said.
He said there will be a meeting with the heads of regions and six regional parliaments namely are DPRD of Biak, Mimika, Wamena and Merauke to discuss development budget of PON facilities in each cluster.
The same thing is said to be a member of Commission IV Thomas Sondegau. He said, need additional power, especially in Jayapura, as it will be built stadiums of international standard. (Arjuna Pademme)