13 Jun 2016

Papua journalists threatened over poll coverage

7:50 pm on 13 June 2016
Indonesia's Papua region: the provinces of West Papua and Papua

Indonesia's Papua region: the provinces of West Papua and Papua Photo: RNZ

Journalists have been intimidated and threatened while covering an election in the Mamberamo Raya regency of Indonesia's Papua province.

Each polling station in the regency was covered by a journalist but according to the Jakarta Post, there was widespread infringement on their work.

A Vivanews.com journalist, Banjir Ambarita, said all journalists were intimidated and prohibited from taking pictures of the election by supporters of one candidate.

Rivand Nay, of Papua television station RCTI, was threatened by a group of men armed with bows, arrows and machetes at a polling station.

Mr Rivand said police Mobile Brigade officers witnessed him having his camera seized and being blocked from doing his work, but did nothing to help.

Papua Post journalist Gultom Pangaribuan said he and 10 other people were taken hostage at another polling station.

He said police officers present were too afraid to take action.

Meanwhile there are reports that up to 31 members of the separatist West Papua National Committee had been arrested by police.

Local media reports say the members of KNPB were arrested last Friday for handing out leaflets, advertising a rally planned for this Wednesday.