Indonesia extends mobile-data blockage in Papua after riots


JAKARTA • Indonesia’s government extended the suspension of mobile-data services in Papua and West Papua provinces after riots broke out in the region, the country’s Cabinet secretariat said, citing the Communications and Information Ministry.

The ministry decided to extend the suspension, which has been in place since last Wednesday, until the situation in the area has improved, according to Mr Ferdinandus Setu, a ministry spokesman.

The ministry cited a high volume of hoaxes, false information, and racial and provocative messages being distributed in the area as the reason for the suspension.

The unrest followed last Monday’s protests in Manokwari, West Papua, allegedly in response to the detention of 43 Papuan students during recent protests in Surabaya, East Java province.

A group of protesters set fire to a local Parliament building in Manokwari and blocked streets around the area, according to a Kompas TV report.

Separately, West Papua journalist Victor Mambor claimed that he has faced intimidation and harassment for reporting on the Internet blackout in Papua .

The Indonesia Alliance of Independent Journalists, of which he is a member, reported that Mr Victor, the editor of Jubi newspaper and a correspondent for The Jakarta Post, fell victim to “doxing” by a social media user with the Twitter handle @antilalat last Thursday.

Doxing refers to the publishing of private or identifying information about individuals on the Internet, usually with malicious intent.

The alliance’s advocacy head Sasmito Madrim said that @antilalat had accused Mr Victor of having links to the Free Papua Movement in the provinces and abroad, as well as being an informant for Indonesian lawyer Veronica Koman, who represents the West Papua National Committee.

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Mr Sasmito said the accusations against Mr Victor were groundless since he was merely doing his job as a reporter while complying with the journalism code of ethics.

Mr Victor said yesterday that he had not faced direct intimidation during the protests last week, but that he was worried about the safety of his family.

“The user has even shared my house location on Twitter,” he told The Jakarta Post via text message.

BLOOMBERG, THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK





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