West Papuan control: How red tape, disinformation and bogus online media disrupts legitimate news sources

  • Victor Mambor Tabloid Jubi
  • Palagio da Costa Sarmento TAPOL
Keywords: censorship, democracy, freedom of expression, harassment, human rights, immigration, Indonesia, journalism, media freedom, Melanesia Media Freedom Forum, West Papua


Indonesia ranks 124th out of 180 countries in the 2019 Global Press Freedom Index, West Papua (meaning the two provinces of Papua and West Papua) as the most closed region to foreign media coverage. There are patterns of threats that implicate the safety and security of local journalists in the territory. A clearing house, an intricate red-tape system, was re-introduced in May 2019 to screen foreign journalists coming to the region of West Papua. Once a permit is granted, security forces supervise the selected journalists during their work in the region. Over the past 10 years, there have been two deaths, multiple assaults, arrests on local journalists and deportations of international journalists. Most of the cases remain open with no clear investigation process. Disinformation using bogus online media disrupts the work of legitimate news sources.  There is no freedom of expression or freedom of information in West Papua.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Victor Mambor, Tabloid Jubi

West Papua


Act of Free Choice (n.d.). Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Act_of_Free_Choice

AJI Jayapura: Wartawan Merauke tewas dibunah (2010, August 21). Antara News. Retrieved from https://www.antaranews.com/berita/217169/aji-jayapura-wartawan-merauke-tewas-dibunuh

Australian student barred from Indonesia and ‘blacklisted’ by government (2018, August 4). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/04/australian-student-barred-from-indonesia-and-blacklisted-by-government

Five Australian journalists expelled from Papua (2006, September 14). RSF (Reporters Without Borders). Retrieved from https://rsf.org/en/news/five-australian-journalists-expelled-papua

Government keeps restrictive policy for foreign journalists covering in West Papua (2019, May 27). Human Rights and Peace for Papua: The International Coalition for Papua (ICP) of faith-based and civil society organisations. Retrieved from https://www.humanrightspapua.org/news/31-2019/439-government-continues-restrictive-policy-on-access-of-foreign-journalists-to-west-papua

Indonesia jails Polish tourist for treason (2019, May 2). BBC World News. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-48132165

Journalist killed as gunmen attack plane at Papua province airport (2012, April 11). RSP (Reporters Without Borders). Retrieved from https://rsf.org/en/news/journalist-killed-gunmen-attack-plane-papua-province-airport

Journalist’s death overshadows launch of Papua food project (2010). Down to Earth. Retrieved from http://www.downtoearth-indonesia.org/story/journalist-s-death-overshadows-launch-papua-food-project

Kine, P. (2016, January 22). Indonesia’s Papua reporting paranoia. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved from https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/01/22/indonesias-papua-reporting-paranoia

Kine, P. (2018, August 6). Indonesia’s Papua media blacklist. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved from https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/08/06/indonesias-papua-media-blacklist-0

Media siluman di Papua: Propaganda, hoaks, hingga, narasumber fiktif (2018, December 6). Tirto. Retrieved from https://tirto.id/media-siluman-di-papua-propaganda-hoaks-hingga-narasumber-fiktif-da5B

Papua-based reporter seriously injured in stabbing (2011, March 3). RSF (Reporters Without Borders). Retrieved from https://rsf.org/en/news/papua-based-reporter-seriously-injured-stabbing

Polda Papua haras pecat pelaku kekerasan terhadap wartawan Jubi Abeth You dan Mando Mote di Nabire (2018, May 18). Suarapapua.com. Retrieved from https://suarapapua.com/2018/05/18/polda-papua-harus-pecat-pelaku-kekerasan-terhadap-wartawan-jubi-abeth-you-dan-mando-mote-di-nabire/

RSF (Reporters Without Borders) (2019). RSF World Press Freedom Index: President’s broken promises – Indonesia. Retrieved from https://rsf.org/en/indonesia

RSF asks Indonesia’s president to let journalists work in West Papua (2017, March 31). RSF (Reporters Without Borders). Retrieved from https://rsf.org/en/news/rsf-asks-indonesias-president-let-journalists-work-west-papua

RSF’s [sic] decries journalist’s expulsion from Indonesia’s Papua region (2018, February 6). RSF (Reporters Without Borders). Retrieved from https://rsf.org/en/news/rsfs-decries-journalists-expulsion-indonesias-papua-region

RSF tells Indonesia to stop flouting journalists’ rights in West Papua (2016, May 9). RSF (Reporters Without Borders). Retrieved from https://rsf.org/en/news/rsf-tells-indonesia-stop-flouting-journalists-rights-west-papua

Sara, S., Worthington, A., & Mambor, V. (2020, May 12). The battle for West Papuan independence from Indonesia has intensified with deadly results. ABC Foreign Correspondent. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-12/west-papua-secret-war-with-indonesia-for-independence/12227966 Also, Inside Indonesia’s secret war for West Papua [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMeYD-wFC1o

Setiawan, A. (2015, May 11). President Jokowi frees foreign journalists for journalistic duty to Papua. Cabinet Secretariat of the Republic of Indonesia. Retrieved from https://setkab.go.id/en/president-jokowi-frees-foreign-journalists-for-journalistic-duty-to-papua/

Tehusijarana, K., & Boediwardhana, W. (2018, December 4). Papuan students removed from Surabaya after rally. The Jakarta Post. Retrieved from https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/12/04/223-papuan-students-removed-surabaya-after-rally.html

Two French journalists held for past five days in Indonesian province of Papua (2014, August 11) RSF (Reporters Without Borders). Retrieved from https://rsf.org/en/news/two-french-journalists-held-past-five-days-indonesian-province-papua

UN Universal Periodic Review (2017). UPR Database. Retrieved from https://www.upr-info.org/database/index.php

How to Cite
MamborV., & da Costa SarmentoP. (2020). West Papuan control: How red tape, disinformation and bogus online media disrupts legitimate news sources. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 26(1), 105-113. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjr.v26i1.1085