23 Oct 2007

Media access to Papua tightened, claims academic

3:43 pm on 23 October 2007

A United States-based West Papuan journalist and academic says the media access to Indonesia's Papua region has become more restricted.

Octo Mote's comments follow discussion in the British parliament over how much Jakarta has opened up Papua for foreign journalists.

While the parliament welcomed the recent permission granted by Indonesia to BBC's Jakarta correspondent to report from Papua, it noted that her access to Papua was severely limited.

Mr Mote, who is based at Yale university, says until about five years ago it was easier for a journalist to apply for and receive a permit to work in Papua.

"But more tight now since the Independence Movement has become stronger and Papuans openly express their aspirations. So the Indonesian government is really afraid to open up."

Octo Mote says more international pressure needs to be applied to Jakarta to open up dialogue on Papua.