6 Aug 2018

Australian researcher deported from Indonesia ahead of Papua trip

1:33 pm on 6 August 2018

An Australian researcher deported from Indonesia says she has been blacklisted by the government after seeking access to Papua.

Belinda Lopez, a former journalist based at Sydney's Macquarie University, said she was detained at an airport in Bali before being deported.

In a Facebook post, Ms Lopez said she was planning to visit the Baliem cultural festival in Papua as part of her trip.

She said Indonesia would not renew her visa when she was in Papua two years ago and questions whether concerns around the territory are behind her recent deportation.

Immigration spokesman Agung Sampurno told the Jakarta Post Ms Lopez had been denied entry due to immigration matters and not related to her work as a journalist.

Pacific Media Watch and the Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono have condemned Indonesia's action against Ms Lopez.

Indonesia claims to have opened up access to Papua in 2014 but activists, researchers and journalists say informal restrictions remain.

In February BBC journalist Rebecca Henschke was forced to leave the region after controversial tweets the military said had "hurt soldiers' feelings."