Saturday, December 5, 2015

1) Māori TV Investigates Indigenous Issues in West Papua

3) Govt Urged to Quickly Buy Freeport Share Divestment
Jayapura, Jubi/ Asia New Zealand Foundation – Assisted by an Asia New Zealand Foundation media travel grant, Māori Television’s Native Affairs producer and cameraman Adrian Stevanon and freelance photojournalist Karen Abplanalp travelled to West Papua, Indonesia in August. They were the first New Zealand television crew to visit the province in 50 years.
In the days leading up to our assignment to Papua, a lot of my work colleagues were asking where I was going and why.  My reply was generally met with a confused look followed by “Papua? Is that in Papua New Guinea?”
The lack of knowledge and public awareness about a territory so close to Aotearoa is actually quite remarkable.
If you don’t know where Papua is, it’s located just north of Australia – the province occupying the western side of the island of New Guinea. The region is largely referred to as ‘West Papua’ by western countries, although the area is actually divided into two separate provinces of Papua and West Papua.
It’s a resource-rich land that has been governed by Indonesia since 1969. The province boasts the world’s largest goldmine, and one of the world’s largest rainforests. There has also been a bloody struggle for independence since Indonesia took over governance of the territory from the Dutch.
Since the Indonesian takeover, West Papua has also tainted by allegations of wide-spread human rights abuse, and environmental destruction.
For more than 50 years, West Papua has largely been a no-go zone for foreign journalists, and after three years of trying our Native Affairs team was finally granted a visa to enter. This was a unique opportunity that had to be accepted.
Flying into the capital of Jayapura, the thing that hit us first is the size, and the beauty of the place from above. On the ground, one of the first things I noticed was the fusion between Asia and the Pacific. The number of indigenous faces at the airport was dwarfed by those from other parts of Indonesia who now call West Papua home.
Jayapura itself is bustling metropolis, with a population of over 300,000. The level of development was not unexpected, but the size of the city sprawl was, as was the quality of the infrastructure – which was certainly better than we had anticipated. The military presence was noticeable, as too the interest from locals to our presence on the street with a TV camera.
For a place that has a somewhat violent and dangerous reputation, our experience was safe and enjoyable.
Jayapura is a great place with great people, but it’s also a place that’s grappling with some challenging social dynamics.
West Papua has an indigenous population of around two million people who speak more than 270 different languages.
We travelled to the highlands, where the vast majority of indigenous Papuans live. Our aim was visit some villages involved in a New Zealand aid project that’s focused on the growth and commercialisation of crops, in particular kumara or ‘ubi jalar’ as they call it in the Highlands.
There are many traditional and cultural similarities between Māori and the Dani people we connected with. From the way they greet guests, and cook their food, to the traditional gods they worship, the cultural parallels are clear to see.
The concerns around colonisation felt by the locals we met echo the sentiments felt here by Māori. The loss of traditional knowledge and culture was by far the greatest concern for the village elders we spoke to.
Adrian Stevanon and Karen Abplanalp describe their trip to Papua.
“As youth from the villages get educated and migrate to the cities in search of work, few are willing to return to the hard graft of village life. So much of the village way of life operates around working the land and their crops. The Indonesian influence of rice is strong, with free rice delivered to villages by the government; many villagers don’t see the value in continuing to grow their traditional crops,” said Adrian.
“We were told this can lead to a break down in the functioning of the village, and lead to issues of alcohol abuse and domestic violence.   Traveling to the highlands and connecting with some of the indigenous people of West Papua was such an incredible experience. Their hopes and dreams and dreams for their kids are the same as ours, so too are the dreams of the kids. One teenage boy we spoke to said he wanted to be a pilot, another girl wanted to be doctor so she could help the sick in her village. Both spoke about the struggles of life living in a poor community. The irony is, theirs is a resource-rich land, with a third of Indonesia GDP coming from Papua alone. Its promising to see the Indonesian government loosen their grip on the province and allowing foreign journalists to enter, we hope this continues,” Karen added. (*)

Jayapura, Jubi – The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI – Indonesia) in strongly criticizing the actions of local police in Indonesia, in two separate incidents where journalists were harassed and attacked. The IFJ and AJI demand an immediate investigation into both incidents.
On December 1, Topilus B Tebai, editor of, was covering the preparations to commemorate the declaration of West Papua independence in Nabire in West Papua. Topilus was taking pictures of police vehicle inspections at the Heroes Cemetery. A police officer, allegedly claiming to be a police leader, kept distracting Topilus. Shortly after two other officers came over to Topilus and stopped him, asking for his camera. The officers continued to question Topilus and one officer tried to kick the journalist. Topilus told the officers he was a journalist and showed his press card, however the officers then started yelling and demanded to speak with the editor-in-chief of
Topilus protested against the officers’ actions, telling them that they were violating Indonesia’s press law. Officers told Topilus to delete the photos and that he shouldn’t be photographing the police operations. Five more officers approached Topilus and forcibly removed his camera. Police officers then kicked Topilus and forcibly removed him from the Heroes Cemetery.
On the same day, Archicco Guilianno of ABC Australia and Step Vaessen of Al Jazeera were covering a rally organized by Papuan students in Jakarta when they were attacked and intimidated by local police. According to AJI police asked Guilianno to erase her footage of the rally, however when she didn’t immediately comply but identified herself as a journalist, she was beaten by an officer. Vaessen recorded the incident and was then requested by police to delete the footage, when she didn’t comply police forcibly removed the footage.
Suwarjono, AJI president said of the incident in Jakarta that: “The violence suffered by the two journalists in the demonstration is evidence that the police have not been fully aware of the duties of journalists. Indonesia has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, police must understand the Convention, in order to avoid such an event again.”
Victor Mambor, AJI Papua chairperson said of the incident in West Papua that: “The police chief must educate their officers to understand Indonesia Press Law. Most violations against journalist in West Papua happen to Indigenous Papuan journalists. This incident is a case of police discrimination.”
The IFJ said: “The situation for journalists in Indonesia remains a key area of concern. These incidents highlight the environment that journalists in Indonesia operate within. Following the International Partnership Mission to Indonesia (IPMI) it is clear that journalists across Indonesia continue to be targeted for their work, which is a clear threat to press freedom. We call on the Indonesian government to investigate the situation and engage the local authorities to better understand the rights of journalists and media workers in Indonesia.”
In November, the IFJ participated in the second IPMI, which visited Jayapura in Papua, Makassar in Sulawesi and Jakarta. The mission met with local journalists, civil society groups and government ministers to discuss the challenges for press freedom in Indonesia. Read the IPMI statement here, with a full report to published soon.  (*)

SUNDAY, 06 DECEMBER, 2015 | 12:32 WIB
3) Govt Urged to Quickly Buy Freeport Share Divestment

TEMPO.COJakarta - Director of Indonesian Resources Studies (IRES) Marwan Batubara said that the government should buy share divestment of PT Freeport Indonesia.
"The government should buy it now when the prices are low. Imagine, in 2011, the price was US$ 60, now it is only US$ 7,85 per share," Marwan said in Jakarta on Saturday (5/12).
He also said that the government should not make excuses because the government can look for funding from foreign loans.
Marwan also believed that in Freeport case, the public will not opposed to the reason the government seeks foreign loans to buy shares of the US mining giant.
Besides, he added, the reason is to maintain the government’s sovereignty in accordance with the mandate of Article 33 of the 1945 Constitution.
According to Marwan, if the government does not take action, in the next three months, Freeport will sell its shares through the initial public offering (IPO).


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