French journalists detained in Papua

French journalists detained in Papua
 25 May 2010

Two French television journalists were detained Tuesday in Papua after filming a human rights rally by some 100 students, an immigration official said.

Baudouin Koenig, 54, and Carole Lorthiois, 27, were detained in Jayapura, the capital of Papua, on accusations they violated their visa terms, said local immigration chief Robert Silitonga.

Foreign journalists are barred from reporting in Papua, a former Dutch colony on the western part of New Guinea, unless they receive a government permit.

Silitonga said Koenig had a permit to film documentary footage on cultural activities in other provinces of Indonesia, while Lorthiois only had a tourist visa.

The two were working on a documentary about Indonesia's rise as a modern Muslim-majority state and were arrested on their way back to a hotel after filming the protest, said Christian Le Peutrec, the manager of Mano a Mano, a Paris-based production company that employed the two in their project for Arte TV.

"Baudouin is a confirmed journalist and (documentary) director. He's mature, aware and responsible," Le Peutrec said. He added that the arrest would not derail the documentary project.

Koenig, 54, is a journalist and producer and Lorthiois, 27, is a sound assistant on the project, he said.

If the two are found to have violated their visa's terms, they will be deported from Indonesia, Silitonga said.

"We've talked to Baudouin on the phone. They're being expelled from Papua. They'll be in Jakarta tomorrow," Le Peutrec said by telephone. He added, "This doesn't jeopardize the end of the shoot."