1) Continuing Restrictions on Free Expression in West Papua
UNPO conducted an interview with Aprila R.A. Wayar on her experiences as a journalist carrying out her profession in West Papua. Wayar was born in West Papua and grew up in Java. After graduating from the local university in Java, she returned to West Papua to work as a journalist. Her personal experiences shed light on the restrictions of the freedom of opinion and expression frequently experienced by local and foreign journalists in West Papua.
As the experiences by Ms Wayar reveal, journalists working in West Papua are limited in their freedom of expression out of fear of legal and social sanctions if they openly display their genuine opinions. She emphasizes that “as a journalist in West Papua, I cannot express to people around me what is truly going on.” Such self-censorship, which generally arises from fear of violence and harassment by public officials as well as from social condemnation of pro-independence sentiments, often provokes journalists to conceal their political views. Journalists who do report from the Papuan perspective while opposing those of other people, Wayar points out, are often condemned for being separatist or labelled pro-independence. In addition to social denouncement, journalists that have reported on sensitive political topics as well as persons interviewed by journalists have often been subject to physical violence as well as murder and kidnapping.
Foreign journalists have additionally been subjected to foreign media restrictions. Even though a 25-year ban on foreign media that prevented foreign journalists from entering West Papua was lifted last year, “the ban was lifted only on paper,” Wayar reveals. She points out that the Indonesian government and security forces continue their efforts to impede foreign media access. Foreign journalist that have uttered critical political views have been placed on visa-blacklists. In 2015, Cyril Payen for example, a reporter for France 24 television, faced a visa ban after having produced a documentary that was condemned for generating pro-independence sentiments. Furthermore, journalists that have managed to get a visa to report on West Papua have been subjected to monitoring of their activities in the area, which might influence the content of their news reports. Such control that government officials have over journalists might produce a lack of news stories that cover multiple sides, including those of people that are critical of government policies. The result of such restricted foreign media access is, Wayar argues, that the international community including those who promote the human rights of the West Papuan people are insufficiently aware of the local issues experienced by Papuan people.
Raising awareness of the challenges that indigenous peoples in West Papua face is crucial for enacting change in the area, Wayar emphasizes. Papuan people run the risk of losing their identity: “in 2050, there will be no Papuan people left.” She points out that the age-old history of Papua and its unique culture is being lost because it is not transferred to the next generation. Instead, a new ‘history’ is taught that ignores Papuans’ indigenous culture and promotes an Indonesian flavored story. Additional challenges that Papuan people face are widespread immigration from foreigners as well as poverty and insufficient access to education and health care, which is only accessible for those living in large cities. In order to generate improvements of the living and social conditions of the Papuan people, Wayar argues, the marginalization of indigenous peoples needs increased national and international awareness. As such, the profession of journalism and the safe performance thereof might be of crucial importance for the wellbeing of the people in West Papua.
2) Minister vows to improve logistics flow in East Indonesia
Jumat, 21 Oktober 2016 23:03 WIB | 607 Views
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-10/21/c_135772259.htmJakarta (ANTARA News) - Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi vowed to improve the logistic flow in Eastern Indonesia, considering the gap between the countrys Eastern and Western sides, which results in the East not receiving the best services.
"There is some sort of a gap between Indonesias Eastern and Western sides, where the East is not receiving the best services possible. The vast area of land and the low income of the residents often result in goods with high price tags. They are also often hard to obtain that in some cases, people can go hungry," Sumadi said in a press release received here on Friday.
The majority of logistics in East Indonesia can only be delivered by air transportation, as there are about 250 airports scattered in different areas of Papua, through which logistic supplies can be distributed, he added.
"Looking at the current situation, we will continue to make serious efforts to improve the logistic flow in the Eastern region. The ministry is also working to come up with a solution to solve the issue of connectivity in logistic supply not only to the Western zone but also to the Eastern territory," he stated.
He further said that there will also be few plans lined up to improve East Indonesias logistic flow.
The ministry has also called on the Indonesian National Air-Carriers Association (INACA) and the Indonesian National Ship Owners Association (INSA) to take efforts to solve the issue of logistics flow in East Indonesia.
Sumadi stated that in 2017, private entities will also be involved in marine highway projects, for which tenders have already started coming in and the subsidy will be about Rp200 billion.
"In January 2017, we will start the projects in three areas, namely West Sumatra, East Kalimantan and Maluku. These projects will improve the roles of private and public organizations in the marine highway program," he revealed.
He also said that he will evaluate the routes, increase occupancy levels, improve the quality of goods and involve more private institutions to be in line with the efforts to improve logistic flow.
He expressed hopes that the logistics will then be distributed evenly to all the areas in the Eastern part of the country, including regions surrounded by mountains like Mulia and Ilaga, through air tolls and rivers routes.
"There will also be new flight routes around the Papua territory, which are established to distribute supplies to areas that are harder to reach by means of land transportation. We are also considering the use of rivers routes to boost the distribution of goods in Papua," he reiterated.(*)
3) Indonesia to apply uniform fuel prices next year
JAKARTA, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Indonesian government planned to adopt uniform fuel prices across the country next year.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said on Friday that the government was to create related regulation and design fuel distribution mechanism, expecting that the policy would take into effect next year.
"The price of fuel from Sabang to Merauke and from Miangas to Rote island would all be the same, enabling our fellow bothers to enjoy similar fuel prices," Jonan said in a statement, referring to Indonesia's tip regions in all directions.
The policy was formulated following President Joko Widodo's visit to the easternmost region of Papua where fuel prices were much higher than that in key island of Java and in western regions.
During his visit on Tuesday, the president assigned the state-run enterprises minister and state oil and gas firm Pertamina to take efforts in addressing the issue.
Jonan said the government would guarantee prices of fuel sold in gas stations would be at the same level anywhere nationwide.
The disparity of fuel prices between western and eastern region has long been blamed for hindering the development in the east, which lags far behind the nation's center of economic activities in the west.