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Foreign Journalists Denied Visas For Aceh

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JAKARTA (Jakarta Post Online/Pacific Media Watch): The martial law administrator in the restive province of Aceh has rejected requests from about 10 overseas journalists to cover the war there, an Indonesian Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday.

"Yes, there were several requests but nearly all were not accepted," said the official, Wahid Supriyadi, as quoted by AFP.

He said Maj. Gen. Endang Suwarya has denied requests from about 10 foreign-based journalists wishing to cover the conflict.

Normally Wahid's office reviews visa requests by journalists based outside Indonesia. "But the authority lies with Suwarya since martial law was declared in Aceh on May 19," he said.

On Monday, Endang was quoted Tuesday as saying he did not need "foreign observers" in the province. "We are capable of overcoming by ourselves the problem here," he said.

The Jakarta government has also said foreign non-governmental organizations cannot work in Aceh without a permit. had opened fire on convoys of foreign and local journalists.

The military has invited Indonesian journalists to travel with its troops as they attempt to crush the Free Aceh Movement.

"We are already co-operating with the mass media to obtain criticism on the implementation of the integrated operation," Endang was quoted as saying.



PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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