Official Bars Journalists from Jouwe, Calls Them 'Bloody Idiots'

Official Bars Journalists from Jouwe, Calls Them 'Bloody Idiots'
Jakarta Globe
Fidelis E. Satriastanti

Authorities bent on curbing pro-independence sentiment in the easternmost province of Papua went out of their way on Friday to limit access to a visiting exiled Papuan separatist leader after the latter turned out to be still aspiring for freedom for his homeland.

Nicolaas Jouwe, who came at the invitation of the government, held a press conference at the Coordinating Ministry for People's Welfare that did not go as expected, and officials then scrapped the opportunity for a question-and-answer session.

Later in the day, several Indonesian journalists, including from the Jakarta Globe, attempted to get comments from Jouwe at the hotel where he was staying, but were unceremoniously barred from doing so by officials from the Indonesian mediation team. The same officials allowed Dutch journalists to interview Jouwe.

"I have instructions that interviews are only for Dutch reporters, so please go out now," Nicolas Messet, a member of the government team said without saying where the instruction had come from. Messet also called the journalists "bloody idiots" — in English— because they failed to leave as he had told them to.

Shortly afterward, another member of the team, Febiola Ohei, yelled at a journalist who had refused to leave, saying: "You have no respect for us. We have given you the opportunity to ask at the press conference."

Government officials have said Jouwe was scheduled to announce his acknowledgment of Indonesian sovereignty over Papua, but instead referred to Indonesia as Papua's neighbor.