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Safeguarding digital spaces: Addressing vulnerabilities faced by activists and journalists in Papua

Tabloid JUBI - May 22, 2023

Jayapura, Jubi – Unggul Sagena, the Head of the Internet Access Division at the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFENet), highlighted that activists and journalists in Papua remain susceptible to digital assaults. Unggul emphasized the need for an enhancement in the digital security capabilities of activists and journalists operating in Papua.

In a WhatsApp conversation with Jubi on Friday, May 19, 2023, Sagena stated that activists and journalists are the primary targets of these attacks. He further explained that such digital assaults typically arise from the content they share on online platforms or social media. Activists and journalists frequently experience doxing as a common form of digital attack, while organizations often face hacking and account takeover attempts.

Sagena mentioned that the most recent incident occurred in May 2023. "They involved hacking, account hijacking, and the blocking of websites related to Papua, such as the Papuan Student Alliance site. The incident is currently under investigation and is being addressed collaboratively, including seeking clarification from the Ministry of Communication and Information," he said.

He further stated that SAFENet's latest research has provided valuable insights from individuals who are at risk and have experienced attacks. Consequently, there is a need to persistently enhance the digital security skills among activists, journalists, and civil society members in Papua.

Sagena stressed the importance of commencing digital security training from the fundamental level and gradually progressing towards advanced techniques.

According to him, many individuals have already taken initial steps in strengthening their security practices, as indicated by research that suggests a moderate level of preparedness. "However, there is the need for expanding and deepening this knowledge, particularly in the realm of communication security as this aspect is the most vulnerable," he added.

Finally, SAFENet urged those responsible for digital attacks to cease their harmful actions, as they pose a threat to democracy and digital rights, specifically the right to freedom of expression. (*)

Source: https://en.jubi.id/safeguarding-digital-spaces-addressing-vulnerabilities-faced-by-activists-and-journalists-in-papua