Update on Internet breakdown in Jayapura – Internet connection planned to be repaired in early June

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On 21 May 2021, the Ministry for Communication and Informatics released a press statement (number 180/HM/KOMINFO/05/2021), according to which the internet connection in Jayapura has been partly re-established since 21 May 2021. However, the General Manager of Telkom Witel Papua, Sugeng Widodo, explained that the internet bandwidth is still very limited and only available in a few public places and essential institutions such as hospitals and government offices. Therefore, Jayapura-based journalists and media outlets are supposed to use a media centre set up at the Witel Papua head office in Jayapura.

According to the press release, a special ship carrying a team of experts has been dispatched from Makassar to Jayapura on 19 May 2021 to repair a damaged submarine cable at a depth of 4,050 m. As a result, the internet connection to Jayapura shall be fully functional again in early June 2021.

The internet in Jayapura has been dysfunctional since 30 April 2021. The breakdown occurred only five days after members of the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN PB) killed a Papuan intelligence chief in the Puncak Regency on 25 April 2021. Media observers and human rights activists suspect that the Government has deliberately shut down the internet to impede the flow of information on the conflict situation in the central highlands.

Background
In September 2019, the Government throttled the internet in response to widespread protests against racism and for self-determination in all major towns across West Papua. The internet shutdown was ruled unlawful by the state administrative court in Jakarta in June 2020.