Jakarta. Internet service has been gradually returning to Papua and West Papua since late Wednesday evening as security situation improves in Indonesia's two easternmost provinces after two weeks of violent pro-independence protests.
The government started throttling internet access in the two provinces following violent protests in Manokwari and Sorong in West Papua on Aug. 18 triggered by acts of racism against Papuan students in Semarang in Central Java and in Malang and Surabaya in East Java.
Officials argued that fake news and provocative information spread on social media had escalated the problems in Papua and West Papua.
"Since [security] situation has improved in several districts in Papua and West Papua, we started restoring internet access at 11 p.m. Eastern Indonesia Time on Wednesday," Ferdinandus Setu, spokesman of the Communication and Informatics Ministry, said in a statement.
Internet access is still being restricted in Mimika, Paniai, Deiyai, Dogiyai, Jayawijaya, Pegunungan Bintang, Numfor and Jayapura in Papua. In West Papua, the same restriction still applies in the city of Sorong, the district of Sorong and Manokwari.
Normal internet access has been restored in 19 districts in Papua and 10 in West Papua.
"We urge that people refrain from spreading false news and false information, hate speech or provocation online, including on social media, so we can soon restore normal internet access to the whole of Papua and West Papua," the spokesman said.