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Thousands sign online petition over internet block in Papua

Tempo - August 23, 2019

Fajar Pebrianto, Jakarta – Thousands of people protested the internet blocking policy implemented by Communication and Informatics Ministry in Papua and West Papua. They demanded Minister Rudiantara reopen the network access by signing an online petition with a hashtag #NyalakanLagi or #KeepItOn on Change.org.

"If you love Indonesia and Papua, let's shout out #NyalakanLagi the internet in Papua and West Papua," said Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) executive director Damar Juniarto who started the petition on Wednesday, August 21.

As of Thursday, August 22, at 23:30 Jakarta time, nearly 4,937 people have signed the online petition.

The request emerged as a response to the ministry's press release on the data block in the two provinces which was issued on the same day. The ministry claimed the policy aimed to expedite the recovery process of the security situation and public order in Indonesia's eastern region.

The petition noted that the blocking policy restricted Papuan to obtain the truth of the conflict. This also violated the people's rights to access real information as protected by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) seconded Damar's statement. The data access restriction is against the law and a form of authority abuse committed by Kominfo.

ICJR said that the government has the right to apply it as long as it meets the requirements; first, the country faces an emergency situation, and second, the President must officially declare the status through a Presidential Decree.

However, President Joko Widodo or Jokowi defended his ministry's decision. "Yes, for the sake of the public interest and common good," said the President in Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java, Thursday, August 22.

Today, August 23, a number of civil organizations will stage a rally in front of Kominfo building on Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat, Central Jakarta, urging the revocation of the internet blocking policy for Papua and West Papua.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1239306/thousands-sign-online-petition-over-internet-block-in-papua