Friday, January 16, 2015

1) President's speech in Papua and Press Freedom

2) Indonesian, Australian Journalist Awardees Named

1) President's speech in Papua and Press Freedom
Article by Atmakusumah in Kompas Daily, 14 January 2015

  Once again, Joko Widodo, the recently elected president of
Indonesia, has made a dramatic statement which has triggered interest
with regard to those issues that are keenly watched by the community.

  On this occasion, it was a speech he made in Jayapura, West Papua
on 27 December 2014 during Christmas celebrations when he called for
peace for everyone, ending violence in the provinces of Papua and West
Papua. 'We should listen to the Papuan people. They not only need
health services, educational facilities and the building of roads,
bridges and ports.'

   Jokowi [as the President is usually called] regretted the shooting
in Enarotali, district of Paniai, West Papua on 8 December 2014 which
led to the deaths of five teenagers. He promised to deal with this
incident and to ensure that such incidents would never happen again.
[See Kompas 28 December 2014 and January 1, 2015]

   He said that this had reminded him of what the people of East
Timor used to say when their country was still occupied by Indonesia.
Indonesian officials used to draw attention to all the developmental
activities under way there, as compared to the situation when their
country was still colonised by Portugal. They often said: 'Okay. Dig
up all the roads, bridges and buildings they have built here and take
them back to Indonesia. The only thing we want is our independence.'

   It was the same in Aceh during the time of the armed conflict
there, when press freedom was very limited. This was when journalists
used to say that they were very traumatised when they tried to get
information about conditions there.

  The lack of information about what people were saying was such that
no one was able to find out about the situation there.

The Isolation of Papua

   It has been impossible for the international press to obtain
comprehensive information about the situation in Papua. Papua has been
closed to the international media for half a century, just as it was
in Aceh.

   According to Andreas Harsono, a member of Human Rights Watch which
is located in New York, an organisation that is very concerned about
the situation in Papua, they need to get permits from no fewer than
eighteen agencies in the clearing house at the Foreign Ministry,
including the State Intelligence Bureau and the Strategic Intelligence

  In a recent interview with Remotivi, Harsono said that this was the
situation not only for foreigners but also for the national press
media. He mentioned the experience of a colleague from Ambon who was
born in Jayapura when he wanted to go back to Papua to visit his
relatives and take part in a family event. He too had to get a permit
to go back to his birth place because he was working for an Australian
institution based in Jakarta.

[Two paragraphs omitted.]

   Just as the situation was then in Aceh [before the conflict there
was resolved] and is now in Papua, there are more than sixty political
activists in prison there who were arrested and convicted for flying
the Morning Star flag, for taking part in discussions about political
affairs or saying things that seemed to be the same as what the OPM
[Organisasi Papua Merdeka - Papua Freedom Organisation] was saying.

  The situation  in Indonesia is very strange because countries which
we regard as being democratic would not have lots of people in prison
simply because of their political opinions.

National and international press coverage

   It is time for Papua's isolation to end and be like the situation
in other parts of Indonesia so that there is access to Papua for the
national and international media.

  There should no longer be incidents like what happened to the two
French journalists from Arte TV, Thomas Dandois and Valerie Bourrat.
The Press Institute said that they should [not?] have been deported
for abusing their tourist visas. The Press Institute also called on
former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to allow access to Papua for
the national and international media.

[One paragraph about Aceh omitted]

  An activist from the Central Bureau of the Referendum in Aceh,
Muslahuddin Daod, said that resolving the conflict had been very
difficult  but much had been done by the media because it was able in
those days to act as a bridge between the two sides. 'It would have
been impossible to bring peace to the area without the role of a
mediator, the press and various other neutral organisations. The media
not only reported news about business affairs and peace issues,' he
said during a World Peace Forum held in Jakarta in November 2014.
[Jakarta Post, 22.11.2014]

  If the national and international press were able to inspire the
Papuan people, the former president would not have so belatedly called
on all those who had fled to the forests or the mountains to work
together to make Papua a land of peace. Six months ago, there were
calls on the government from Vitalis Yurnie, chairman of the Papuan
People's Council of the province of West Papua.

 In a meeting with the US ambassador, Robert Blake, during his visit
to Manokwari in June 2014, Vitalis Yurnie called on the US government
to press the Indonesian government to enter into dialogue with the
Papuan people. He said that the problems in Papua could be resolved
through dialogue with the Papuans.

Atmakusimah, Media Observer and Lecturer at the Dr Soetomo Press
Institute in Jakarta.

Published in Kompas Daily on 14 January 2015.

Translated by Carmel Budiardjo


2) Indonesian, Australian Journalist Awardees Named

MELBOURNE, Jan 16 (Bernama) -- Australian journalist Latika Bourke and Indonesian journalist Aiman Witjaksono are the recipients of this year's prestigious Elizabeth O'Neill Journalism Award.

Bourke, National Political Reporter for Fairfax Media, and Witjaksono, Executive Producer and News Anchor for Kompas TV, will spend two weeks in Indonesia and Australia respectively, to gain a stronger understanding of contemporary issues in each country.

The award commemorates the distinguished career of Elizabeth O'Neill, who died in service of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Indonesia on March 7 2007.

In announcing the winners, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said awardees share O'Neill's commitment to encouraging better mutual understanding between Australians and Indonesians through accurate and informed media coverage.

Bourke will focus on the Indonesian Government's approach to Australia under the leadership of President Joko Widodo.

She will also examine the development of trade and people-to-people links between the two countries, including through the Australian Government's New Colombo Paln.

Witjaksono will report on Australian perspectives on human rights in Indonesia, including the situation in Papua.

He will also explore the effect of Australia's free trade agreements on the Australia-Indonesia economic relationship.

Each participant will meet with community leaders, government officials, industry and NGO representatives.


The Governor of Papua New Guinea's Oro Province, Gary Juffa took to the social media on West Papua's freedom. Governor Juffa stated in social media that "the time is here now when we can no longer ignore the cries of our people in West Papua...yes, they are indeed our people, Melanesians like you and I who have dreams and aspirations of living as FREE PEOPLE on their own land...We must all rise up in a wave of solidarity that must become a tsunami of indignation at the atrocities committed by Western and UN sanctioned INDONESIAN Armed Forces and militia. There is no room here for apathy or denial..we must act...2015 starts for me with this conviction...I will not be deterred by the seemingly overwhelming forces...the truth MUST be told...FREEDOM is long overdue for West Papua"

Mr Juffa called on the United Nations to undo their act of inhumanity in 1965 when they handed West Papua unlawfully to INDONESIA for the economic and political interests of the WEST.

He said, "a petition is being prepared and a series of forums, marches and gatherings to discuss and find ways forward and to shout out loudly for the world to hear will be organized..we can and must all contribute in some way shape or form..we cannot be claiming to be FREE when our people in West Papua continue to remain shackled for the sake of profit and greed"

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