Jan 19, 2017

West Papua: Website Covering Human Rights Violations Blocked by Indonesian Government

Photo Courtesy of Suarapapua.com 

Since December 2016, the Indonesian government blocked nearly 800.000 websites. Journalistic web sites that did not register with the Press Council were censored, including surapapua.com. This website regularly covers human rights violations in West Papua such as, for example, the detention of peaceful protestors. The Legal Aid Institute for the Press condemned the government’s shutdown of surapapua.com, regarding this act as a violation against the freedom of press under Article 18 of the 1999 Indonesian Press Law.

Below an article published by EngageMedia:

Several days ago, the Indonesian government announced that it had blocked 800,000 websites since December 2016. According to Samuel Abrijani Pangerapan, the director general of Information Application at the Communications and Information Ministry, 90% of these websites contained pornographic or gambling material, while “some were simply spreading hoaxes” (Jakarta Post).

Pangerapan stressed that the government did not block journalistic websites. Journalists must abide by the Law on the Press and register with the Press Council, he argued, and claimed that “journalistic” websites lacking these credentials were therefore lawfully censored (Tempo).

His statement comes just a month after the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) condemned the government’s shutdown of the news website, suarapapua.com, for containing “negative” content.

Suarapapua.com regularly covers human rights violations in West Papua, such as the recent illegal detention of peaceful demonstrators (including a newborn and children aged 4-17 years) who participated in the Trikora protests in December 2016 (Suara Papua).

Activists at LBH Pers are considering taking legal action against President Joko Widodo’s administration for violations against the freedom of press under Article 18 of the 1999 Press Law (Jakarta Post).

According to Pangerapan, the owners of blocked websites can appeal to a control and monitoring body and request for “normalisation” (i.e. the lift of censorship) after meeting certain requirements. However, it is unclear what these requirements demand of websites such as suarapapua.com.

Pangerapan encouraged Indonesian citizens to seek more details at the website http://trustpositif.kominfo.go.id/, which states that the purpose of TRUST+ is the “protection of society against ethical values, morals and rules that do not fit the image of the Indonesian Nation.”

As of 11 January 2017, more than 766,000 websites were blocked for pornography, 2100 for gambling, 85 for radicalism, 23 for SARA (secular sentiment) and 2 for security. There have also been 264 cases of “normalisation”.