20 Mar 2017

French journo pair deported from West Papua

3:01 pm on 20 March 2017

The Immigration Office in Indonesia's Papua has banned two French journalists from entering Indonesia for the next six months for allegedly violating the 2011 Immigration Law.

A police officer in Indonesia (file)

Photo: 123RF

The office's head Samuel Enock said Jean Pierre and Basille Longhamp were sponsored by Garuda to report on a number of stories in Indonesia, but they started their work before obtaining the necessary documents, which were still being processed

Mr Enock said as a consequence, the pair had been banned from entering Indonesia for the next six months.

The pair were deported from Timika to France via Jakarta on a Garuda flight on Friday.

"They took pictures while on a tourist visa," Mr Enock explained. "They also had not yet obtained a reporting permit, although both of them already had a permit from the Tourism Ministry and their activities were sponsored by Garuda."

They were charged with violating Article 75 (1) of the 2011 Immigration Law.

The French journalists were taken into custody when they were about to take pictures of the Mount Carstenz area using a helicopter.

They also planned to take pictures in Asmat, Wamena, and Raja Ampat and Sorong in West Papua.

In 2014, Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat were deported for carrying out journalistic activities during a tourist visit.

However, after Indonesia's president Joko Widodo came to power in late 2014, he moved to ease restrictions on foreign media access to Papua region.

While obtaining a journalist visa to visit Papua still requires vetting by multiple state agencies, RNZI has been able to send two journalists to the region.