23 Jul 2013

Press forum condemns shut down of West Papua magazine

9:20 pm on 23 July 2013

The Pacific Freedom Forum says police actions to stop distribution of a new magazine in West Papua break press laws of Indonesia and must be condemned.

The forum has joined the Indonesian Press Council in criticising police for their actions against the magazine, Papua Pelita.

The magazine dedicated its first issue to reporting on the Organisation of Papua Freedom, with a cover featuring the West Papua pro-independence flag - which is banned by authorities in West Papua.

Magazine publishers had already distributed 2,000 copies of the inaugural edition when police arrived and instructed them not to distribute any further copies.

The chairperson of the Pacific Freedom Forum, Titi Gabi, says there are specific laws that back press freedom and expressly prohibit police from banning media organisations in Indonesia.

Papua Police have denied there was any ban, saying it was just a check up to see if there was any seditious material.