Indonesia Told To End Press Freedom Violations In West Papua By Next Year

Pacific Freedom Forum: Jakarta shouldn’t host International Press Freedom Day in 2017

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 7, 2016) – Indonesia has been given a 2017 deadline to address press freedom violations in its Papua province.

The call from the chair of the regional media watchdog Pacific Freedom Forum came as Indonesia was earmarked to host the International Press Freedom Day event in May next year.

Speaking from Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea Titi Gabi said Jakarta must end abuses against local media in Papua and West Papua and ensure open access for foreign media to the restive Melanesian provinces.

In May and June this year Indonesian security forces arrested more than 2,500 protesters there after they called for an independence referendum and an international investigation into numerous human rights abuses.

Titi Gabi said Indonesia needed to rein in security forces persecuting citizens exercising their rights to freedom of expression before it can play host to the rest of the world on Press Freedom Day next year.

The PFF chair also added her organisation's support for a growing demand for global intervention in Papua and West Papua, as declared in recent statements from the United Nations, the Melanesian Spearhead Group, the European Union, TAPOL and ICP, the International Coalition for Papua.

In 2015 two New Zealand media organisations, including RNZ International, were given access to Papua.

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