Police officer prevents Papuan journalist from covering trial in Nabire

On 3 April 2023, Mr Elias Douw, an indigenous Papuan journalist working for the local media outlets Tabloid Daerah and Wagadei online media, was reportedly prevented by police officers from covering a trial in the District Court in the town of Nabire, Papua Tengah Province. Mr Douw wanted to cover a trial related to the arson of a market in the Deiyai Regency on 12 December 2022. According to the Papuan online news platform Suara Papua, he showed his press card and identified himself as a journalist. However, police officers blocked the entrance door to the courtroom and seized Mr Douw’s mobile phone. The officers returned the phone when he agreed to leave the court.

Senior journalists in West Papua have criticised the Nabire police for the incident. They emphasized that all journalists in Indonesia are protected under the law. Anyone obstructing journalist work is violating Indonesia’s Press Law. They called upon the Nabire Police Chief to take firm action against the officers preventing Douw from covering the trial and urged police authorities to improve the understanding of journalist duties among police personnel to avoid similar incidents from happening in the future.

The incident highlights the challenges journalists face while reporting in West Papua. Media freedom in West Papua continues to be restricted, particularly if journalists cover sensitive issues related to natural resource exploitation, political demonstrations, or human rights violations. Indigenous Papuan journalists, in particular, are often subjected to restrictions, violence, and harassment by security force members or third parties.

Detailed Case Data
name of the location: Nabire District Court (-3.3647465685148106, 135.5083128578469)  administrative region: Indonesia, Papua Province, Nabire Regency, Nabire District
total number of victims: 1
period of incident: 03.04.2023
perpetrator: police
perpetrator details: unknown
Issues: freedom of expression, right to information
Further HRM News:

NumberName, DetailsGenderAgeGroup AffiliationViolation
1Elias Douw, journalistmaleunknownindigenousfreedom of expression, right to information