M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta – Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) urged the Indonesian government to revoke its internet block, specifically the bandwidth throttling imposed in Papua. SAFEnet said that the government's policy has severely limited access to public services and information.
"We urge for the internet in Papua and West Papua to be turned on as normal again," said regional coordinator Damar Juniarto in a written release on Tuesday, August 27.
The Indonesian government through the Communication and Informatics Ministry (Kominfo) enforced this policy following the widespread riots in the region on August 19. The government's controversial move was also enforced in Jakarta following the May 22 riots.
Kominfo further explained that radical steps were needed to stop the spread of hoax information which they say could potentially cause more riots to spark in the area. Internet access in Papua has been completely cut by the ministry and is essentially isolated from the outside.
Damar regrets that the government had not announced it earlier and the lack of standard operating procedures to completely cutting-off a region's internet access.
"I propose the government to send SMS blasts to local residents to discern the situation in hand," said the SAFEnet regional coordinator.