Govt approves 8 permits for foreign journalists to visit Papua

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi revealed that her ministry had approved eight applications for foreign journalistic visits to resource-rich Papua in the past six months.

In 2014, similar approval was given to 22 requests and only five were turned down.

"The refusals in 2014 were made because of incomplete procedures or warnings regarding the security situation in the areas in Papua where they wanted to go. Otherwise, from the data we have, there have been no deliberate actions to restrict foreign journalists' access into the province," Retno said in a hearing with the House's Commission I on information, defence and foreign affairs at the House compound on Monday.

She explained that she has already conveyed the specific procedures for how the restrictions will be eased.

Head of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Marciano Norman said the government's move to ease foreign media's access to the country's easternmost province would be beneficial for Indonesia in international eyes.

However, he said the Papua coverage should be conducted responsibly and fairly.

"It (the policy) is actually beneficial for us because their reports can help us see where we need to improve the development in the region. However, they must be responsible and give fair and balanced coverage," he said.

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