Limited access for journalists despite issued permits sparks outrage during Vice President’s visit to Wamena

A group of journalists in Wamena, Papua Pegunungan Province’s capital, faced restrictions while carrying out their duties during the vice president’s visit on 5 June 2024. Despite receiving ID cards specifically issued for reporting on Vice President (VP) Ma’ruf Amin’s visit to Wamena that day, they were barred from covering the event in the Aithosa Building in Wamena, where the VP was meeting regional heads.

This restriction sparked protests from TVRI, Metro TV, Tribun Papua, Inews TV, RRI, Jubi, and Cepos. journalists, all questioning the validity of the ID cards. Although labeled “VVIP” and containing a hologram, the cards only allowed them to report on the vice president’s arrival at Wamena Airport – specifically, from the moment he disembarked the plane until he entered his waiting vehicle. To avoid further conflict, the media personnel in Wamena opted to leave the designated coverage location altogether.

One reporter, Mr Ronny Hisage from RRI Wamena, confirmed that the ID cards for covering the visit had been arranged two days earlier. Hisage explained that the cards were issued on 4 June “to cover the arrival.” He continued, “After leaving the airport, we followed instructions from the Acting Governor of Papua Pegunungan to proceed to the Aithosa Building via the nearby Sunday school building, but we were denied entry.”