A representative of Indonesia’s journalist union says Prime Minister Tony Abbott may have committed a criminal offence by barring local reporters from a press conference on a recent visit to the country.
Journalists say they were told by Australia’s embassy in Indonesia the presser was only for Australian media who were accompanying the PM.
According to a report by Fairfax, after the local press were excluded from the Tuesday morning address indonesian language paper Rakyat Merdeka blasted Abbott in an editorial.
“What’s the use for him coming all the way to Indonesia if he only gives a press conference to Australian journalists?” it said on page 10.
It also reported the press spokesperson from the embassy said the restriction was requested by the Prime Minister’s office.
A senior member of the country’s journalist union has also said the snub may be illegal under Indonesian law.
“The press law in Indonesia says it is a crime to limit journalists to get access to information. The penalty for that is two years’ imprisonment,” said Umar Idris, the head of the Jakarta chapter of the Alliance for Independent Journalists.
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