The Press Council says the ban on the first edition of Papua’s Pelita Magazine is considered as an attempt to block the press.
Press Council member Imam Wahdyudi told Tempo on Sunday:
“If the police really did come and prohibit the distribution of information, that is a form of blocking the press.”
Imam said that according to Press Law No. 40/1999, blocking the press is defined as the forceful or unlawful prohibition of publishing, distributing and/or broadcast of information.
Imam also said that that freedom of the press is clearly regulated in the law and 1945 Constitution, and is a guaranteed right of the people. He said:
“Basically, if the police do not approve the contents of the publication, they can report it to the press council.”
Imam criticized the police for immediately going to the publisher’s printing office and prohibiting the sale of the magazine.
On Wednesday, July 3, after just days of the distribution of its first edition, Pelita Papua magazine encountered problems with the police last Wednesday for portraying the symbol of the Free Papua Movement on its cover. Police arrived at the printing office in Jayapura and asked the magazine to stop distributing. Officers also confiscated a few magazines and took them back to the police station to analyze.
The first edition of the magazine covers the issue of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) office in England. There is also an article about the opinions of some figures regarding the movement.
Fidelis Jeminta, chief editor of Pelita Papua, said this was ordinary news with no large hidden agenda behind it. He is disappointed at the police for randomly banning the distribution of his magazine.
Papua Police Chief Sr. Comr. I Gede Sumerta Jaya said that published material about Papua’s freedom or anything that can incite violence is prohibited.
He denied allegations that the police revoked the magazine’s license.