Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Despite Permits, Indonesia Gives 2 French Journalists the Boot

May 26, 2010

Ismira Lutfia & Nurfika Osman Jakarta Globe

Despite Permits, Indonesia Gives 2 French Journalists the Boot

Two French journalists who supposedly violated their visas were deported back to France on Wednesday after being detained in Jayapura, Papua.

Baudouin Koenig, who has been in Indonesia since April 26 for a documentary film project, told the Jakarta Globe that he had all the necessary permits to work on the project in Indonesia and that he has been shooting in other parts of Indonesia for “the biggest documentary film ever made on Indonesia by French television” about the democratization process in the country.

He said the film would be broadcast on the Franco-German television network, Arte.

Koenig questioned the Jayapura immigration office’s reasons for arresting him and his colleague, Carole Lorthiois.

“I completely complied with all the rules and have all the necessary documents,” Koenig said, adding that he had a valid journalist’s visa and a foreign journalist’s press card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“It took me one month to get the journalist’s card from the ministry,” he said, adding that since their arrival his team has been filming in Aceh and parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Koenig said they hadn’t finished their work. “We were supposed to stay for two more weeks and to go to Bali, Sulawesi and to have some interviews in Jakarta,” he said.

State news agency Antara reported that the pair had obtained a permit for filming in Sorong, West Papua, but not Jayapura. They were detained while taking footage of a protest rally in front of the Regional Legislative Council (DPRD).

Teuku Faizasyah, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the French journalists breached their reporting permit.

“They should not have covered an event or theme outside the coverage permit,” Faizasyah told the Jakarta Globe. “This is basically the immigration department’s issue.”

Koenig said, “I had no intention to go to the mountains to meet with rebels or anything like that.”

Antara said Koenig was a producer for a Paris-based production company, Mano a Mano, while Lorthiois was working with him as a sound assistant on the project. They were said to be filming a documentary called “Indonesia Tomorrow.”