It can change the idea the international community has of Papua."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno asserted that foreign journalists who wish to cover Papua should abide by the laws of Indonesia.

"As a sovereign country, Indonesia has laws and territorial sovereignty. Foreign journalists should abide by the rules that apply in Indonesia," Purdijatno said at a seminar on "Providing Open Access to Papua for Foreign Journalists" here on Tuesday.

The minister remarked that providing open access to journalists to enter Papua was a strategic policy and that it will help to establish a positive image of Indonesia in the international community.

"It can change the idea the international community has of Papua. The message that violence and violations of human rights do not happen in Papua can be disseminated," Purdijatno pointed out.

In addition, he believes that there are parties who deliver negative information about human rights violations in Papua.

Therefore, any foreign journalists wanting to cover Papua must follow legal procedures such as immigration laws.

Foreign journalists intending to report on Papua are required to fill out permission request forms and submit a letter of assignment from their respective media houses.

Purdijatno also explained that clearance house was essentially to preserve national interests and national sovereignty.

"For a while, the term "clearance house" was renamed to the foreign monitoring team of Indonesia that had the same duties and functions," he added.

Earlier, President Joko Widodo had ordered the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police to stop using repressive security approaches in Papua. The president also stressed on the need to engage in a dialogue with Papuan people as one of the key measures to build mutual trust.

With regard to providing open access to foreign journalists and international organizations to enter Papua and West Papua, Deputy Chairman of Commission I of the House of Representatives Tantowi Yahya lauded the governments step to resolve the problems occurring in Papua.

"It is a good motive to handle the problems in Papua," he said.

Moreover, Chairman of Commission I of the House of Representatives Mahfudz Siddiq stated that the TNI should not be provoked by the OPM that challenges it to wage a war.

"The TNI must promote smart power through the optimization of intelligence operations in handling the OPM," Siddiq remarked here on Monday.

Siddiq pointed out that the Indonesian government should pay serious attention to the region, which is prone to political and military conflicts.

He strongly believes that the OPM wants to incite the Indonesian government into using hard power to handle the separatist movement.

"Because the OPM will take a lot of advantage," he noted.

Siddiq emphasized that the problems in Papua cannot be separated from the interests of foreign actors.

Therefore, he called on the Indonesian government and the TNI to not be provoked by the OPM.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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