22 Feb 2006

International journalists body condemns Indonesia's ban on media access in Papua

12:24 pm on 22 February 2006

The International Federation of Journalists, the IFJ, has written to the Indonesian Government demanding the removal of the ban on foreign media in Papua province immediately.

Pacific Media Watch reports that the IFJ is concerned at the stance taken by Indonesia's Defence Minister, Juwono Sudarsono, who has claimed the ban on foreign media, churches and NGOs is required for fear they would encourage Papuans to campaign on issues of human rights.

The ban has prevented any foreign journalist from having official access to the region in the past eighteen months.

There is a concern that the ban is a direct attempt to conceal human rights abuses.

The IFJ says the restrictions on foreign media are in direct opposition to Indonesia's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Article 19 of the Covenant recognises the right to "seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers".