20 Oct 2014

French journos on trial today in Papua

7:17 am on 20 October 2014

The trial is to open in Papua today of two French journalists on charges of abusive use of entry visas into Indonesia.

Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat, who were arrested in August while producing a documentary for a French-German television station, face up to five years in jail.

Media groups as well as Human Rights Watch have called on the Indonesian government to free the two.

A director of Human Rights Watch says Jakarta's chokehold on Papua media coverage has effectively turned foreign journalism in the province into a criminal activity.

The government justifies its restrictions on media access to Papua as a necessary security precaution due to the ongoing conflict with the separatist OPM.

Human Rights Watch says the broad-brush government restrictions on foreign media access to Papua go beyond what is permissible under international law.