Canadian journalist blacklisted and deported from Indonesia

Wednesday, November 11, 1998

Canadian journalist blacklisted and deported from Indonesia

Indonesian authorities blacklisted and deported John Stackhouse, a correspondent with the Canadian national daily "The Globe and Mail".

On 10 November 1998, Stackhouse, the newspaper's New Delhi correspondent, was detained by immigration officials at Jakarta's international airport when he arrived on a flight from Kuala Lumpur. He was told his name was on an Indonesian armed forces blacklist, denying him permission to enter the country and forcing him to board a return flight to Kuala Lumpur. Stackhouse had earlier obtained a journalist's visa from the Indonesian embassy in New Delhi.

"The Globe and Mail" foreign editor Patrick Martin said he regretted the incident. "It is disappointing that, having fully complied with the Indonesian immigration procedures, he was denied access to such an important country at such an important time," Martin said.

Stackhouse was planning to cover a special meeting of the People's Consultative Assembly, the first formal political event since the fall of President Suharto last May. The assembly is working on a framework for a new democratic political system in Indonesia. A general election is expected next year.

According to Martin, on 11 November, Indonesian officials explained to a Canadian embassy spokesperson in Jakarta that Stackhouse's name had been blacklisted due to a series of articles he had written in 1997 on East Timor. They also said that the measure was temporary and would be lifted in December, leading Martin to believe that the reporter was denied entry to prevent him from reporting on violent protests in Jakarta surrounding the assembly hearings.

BACKGROUND: Before Suharto's fall, Indonesia regularly expelled journalists for writing critical stories. Canadian reporter Paul Watson was expelled in early May after covering riots in the city of Medan in Sumatra. Authorities said that Watson, then with "The Toronto Star" daily, was working without a journalist's visa.