Government backflip on foreign journalist regulations in Indonesia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the decision by the Indonesian Government to withdraw new regulations for foreign journalists and film crews that were introduced earlier this week. The IFJ welcomes the development that has seen a highly criticized move that would restrict media reporting quashed, which is a win for freedom of expression and people’s right to know.  According to reports, the Indonesian Home Minister, Tjahjo Kumolo, has apologized and withdrawn a regulation that was aimed as increasing government control over foreign journalists working in Indonesia. The regulation, which was only introduced on Tuesday August 25, contradicted President Joko Widodo’s previous announcments that Indonesia was open to foreign journalists.The new regulation, which received widespread criticism including from IFJ affiliate, AJI, said that all foreign journalists and film crews would require a permits issued by the Coordinating Team for Visiting Foreigners at the Foreign Affairs Ministry and also permits from the Directorate General for Political Affairs and General Administration at the Home Affairs Ministry. The Home Ministry also said that if journalists or crews are working in remote areas they would require permits from local governments.Following the announcement, AJI said that the new regulations were limiting the activities of foreign journalists and limits press freedom in Indonesia. In a statement, President of AJI, Suwarjono said: “Obviously, a circular limiting the access of foreign journalists is counterproductive to the efforts of President Jokowi boost foreign investment to build Indonesia. The Indonesian government should prepare regulations for foreign journalists that are more democratic, modern and transparent. Regulations for foreign journalists should solely relate to the employment status or visa documents, rather than on reporting or the content they are working on.”
The IFJ said: “We welcome the decision to quash this new regulation, which the IFJ saw as a further restriction on foreign journalists working in Indonesia. Journalists continue to face issues in accessing journalist visas for Indonesia, so we support the ideas put forward by AJI in calling for better regulations.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries

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