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Foreign Environmental Journalist Arrested in Indonesia

Foreign Environmental Journalist, Philip Jacobson

Palangkaraya immigration in central Kalimantan had arrested Philip Jacobson; a foreign journalist and the editor of Mongabay on Tuesday 21st January 2020. Jacobson was arrested on charges of infringing a business visa.

“Immigration says his activity in Palangkarya did not comply with the visa he submitted,” said chairman of LBH Palangka Raya, Aryo Nugroho Waluyo.

Aryo said Jacobson was in central Kalimantan from mid-December 2019. At that time, he was coordinating with the Mongabay journalist in Palangkaraya on an article about the conflict and struggle between indigenous people and entrepreneurs.

On 16th December 2019, Jacobson, along with the alliance of Indigenous People of the Archipelago (AMAN) Palangkaraya, a group of indigenous rights advocates in Indonesia, met with representatives of the central Kalimantan parliament regarding the criminalisation of farmers.

The next day, immigration approached Jacobson at his temporary home to check on his passport and visa.

Jacobson contacted Aryo on Tuesday 21st January 2020 inform him of immigration’s request to undergo an examination but was soon detained in Palangkaraya’s Class II Detention Centre.

According to Aryo, Jacobson allegedly violated article 122 letter A of Law No. 6 of 2011 on immigration, following the arrest of Jacobson. “There was a discrepancy in Jacobson’s activity with the visa he had,” said Aryo.

Meanwhile, founder and CEO of Mongabay, Rhett A. Butler, said he continued to support Jacobson in this matter. “We will make every effort to comply with the Indonesian immigration authority,” Butler said. “I am surprised that immigration officers have taken the penalty against Philip over administrative matters.”

“The Ministry of Law and Human Rights must explain the arrest of Philip,” said The House of Representatives (DPR) Law Commission member, Taufik Basari.

Taufik said the arrest garnered international concern since Jacobson was carrying out journalistic duties, warning of political motives behind the immigration action. “Do not let political issues or other non-legal interests be the basis of the detention,” the NasDem politician underlined.

Previous reports stated that the Palangkaraya Immigration Office, Central Kalimantan nabbed the foreign journalist of the non-profit environmental science news outlet on Tuesday 21st January, over alleged violations of his business visa.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Chairman, Abdul Manan, stated that he strongly suspects the arrest is relating to Jacobson’s journalistic activities regarding a land conflict issue in the region.

Source: Tempo
Image: Chicago Sun-Times

See: Forest Fire Protection Sees Parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan Sealed

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