On 28. August YouTube blocked a satirical video about West Papua from being viewed in Indonesia as a consequence of a ‘legal complaint from the government’. The video titled ‘Visit West Papua’ satirizes the Australian government’s policies on West Papua and portrays the Indonesian government as colonizers and the Australian government as standing by for its own profit.
The video, created by Australian Company The Juice Media, is one of many part of the company’s Honest Government Ad series and was first uploaded on Nov. 21, 2018 but was re-shared on The Juice Media’s Twitter account and other social media in the past weeks following widespread protests and rioting in Papua and West Papua.
On Wednesday 28, The Juice Media tweeted that it had received a message from YouTube notifying that the video had been blocked in Indonesia following a legal complaint from the government. The video could still be watched using a virtual private network, which allows users to access websites over another secure connection.
The blocking of the video happened during a government-imposed internet blackout on Papua and West Papua that was put in place on 21 August and was only partially lifted on 4-5 September.
After the event, the Communications and Information Ministry did not confirm whether it requested the blockage, with ministry spokesperson Ferdinandus Setu saying that he was still verifying information in response to an inquiry from The Jakarta Post. According to the Indonesian news outlet Katadata, Ferdinandus said later on August 31 that the content is satirical, so if there are people who don’t understand well the issue of Papua, of course it can provoke Papuans’ anger towards the Republic of Indonesia. ‘This is very provocative, so we are blocking it’.
The Juice Media twitted in response ‘Could it be that Papuans understand not just satire but the reality of Indonesia’s occupation, and that this is why they are angry at the Republic of Indonesia? Maybe this is why they’re demanding a free referendum to replace the bogus one in 1969? #ActOfNoChoice’, and added: ‘a Ministry of Communication and Information Technology that blocks communication and information… Cool and Normal’.