Daily Archives: December 23, 2012

Without support, West Papua Media may have to close down in 2013

by West Papua Media eds

Supporter Request

December 23, 2012

Will you stand on the sideline, or will you help Independent Human Rights Journalism for West Papua grow in 2013?  

Friends and supporters of West Papua Media’s mission:
As the Western orgy of excessive spending and consumerism leaves full bellies but empty spirits for those lucky in the first world, independent human rights journalism projects look at the empty bank accounts and try to find pennies to hopefully continue to shine a preventative light on human rights abuses, and do what we can to give voice to the voiceless, and help them roar in West Papua.  This is the time of year when we do our sums, and see if the Editorial Team can afford to commit to another year of penury to provide robust and credible Independent journalism reporting on events, people, abuse and resistance in West Papua.

As you know, our work has been instrumental in putting West Papua into the mainstream media in 2012, including the unprecedented 7.30 Report coverage of the Densus 88 death squads.  Yet all of this has been funded by small and irregular donations from just a few people, and whilst deeply appreciated, we still have a massive shortfall coming out of personal income.  For every request of support, we perhaps receive 5% of the minimum we need to survive, if we are lucky.  Overall in 2012, we received less than 30% of our spend in private donations due to the lifesaving last-minute donations, but the rest came from our own pockets and personal loans.

We cannot continue this for much longer.  West Papua Media punches well above its weight, and certainly does it without foundational funding – we are entirely funded through volunteer donations.  We need to support our brave journalists and stringers inside Papua, we need to give them material support in terms of cameras, phones, and laptops, and phone cards for internet.  We need to pay for communications costs, equipment upkeep, websites, website registration, and now, we are also threatened with having our very name – westpapuamedia – taken away from us unless we renew a trademark.  That alone is $4000.  To cover our most basic costs we must operate a minimum budget of $2000 per month.  But we are lucky to get $300 per month in support – the rest comes from our pockets.

Do you support our mission?  Do you live in Australia – the richest country on Earth?  Do you want to see West Papuan people have their voice roar around the world?  Or do you want to sit by, while the last best chance for linking international journalists with the voice from the ground in Papua has to shut down because its Editors have spent every last cent on standing with a people?

West Papua Media may soon be forced to make a very difficult choice – to go offline at the most critical time when and where it is needed – because those who do all the work have no more money to pay for it.  From January 20, despite the need for us to stay online, if we do not have enough to pay for three months of operating costs, then you will see our homepage go blank.

Please help share the load, and help us grow for 2013.  Our mission has not changed, but our costs are going up.  We still wish to provide effective training to those who need it, to support the development of a robust free and independent media for West Papua – the basic cornerstone of a democratic society.

2012 Spend                                                                                            AUD$26,000

2012 income via donations:                                                               AUD$8375

The shortfall made up from West Papua Media editors’ personal contribution and personal loans is close to (measured) AUD$13,000, and the End 2012 debt still stands at $4500.

2013 Fundraising Goals

Yearly Survival mode (no journo support, no equipment; no training):

A$24,000

Yearly Effective mode (support for our journalists, 2 basic salaries; mirroring; equipment support; 2 effective training groups per annum): 

A$200,000

Are you going to help us approach the support we need to grow?

Crowdfunding campaign managers:  if you can help with your time, please get in contact with us as soon as possible at editor<@>westpapuamedia.info

You can donate via paypal by clicking on the link here  www.westpapuamedia.info/donate
Australian and European bank details are also here, but for international transfer details please email to info<@>westpapuamedia.info
European donations are also tax-deductible for EU residents.

Thank you for your support

Nick Chesterfield

Founding and Coordinating Editor

West Papua Media

Take Care of Our Rivers and Give Us Back our Land

Sawit Watch / SKP KAMe

Press Release

December 20, 2012

West Papua’s natural resources are being exploited by extractive industries, especially around Merauke. When it was launched in August 2010, the MIFEE mega-project was described as an initiative to meet the world’s food needs, a response to the world food crisis. As well as this, there are the current global concerns that the diminishing reserves of fossil fuel globally are bringing about a energy crisis.

http://sawitwatch.or.id/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Sawit-Papua.jpg

With an area of over 1.2 million hectare earmarked for the project, the Merauke Regency Government hoped to turn Merauke into a centre of urban agriculture, agribusiness and agrotourism. Many companies welcomed the government’s offer and saw it as a great opportunity to expand their operations in eastern Indonesia. Merauke Regency’s Investment Planning Board (Badan Perencanaan Investasi Daerah or BAPINDA) has recorded that 46 companes have obtained permits, and some of which have already commenced operations. (data from Bapinda, September 2012).

The extent of concessions for large-scale oil-palm plantations in Indonesia currently exceeds 11.5 million hectares (Sawit Watch, 2011), stretching over all of Indonesia’s island groups both large and small, from Sabang at the westernmost tip of Aceh, to Merauke in South-East Papua.  The first palm-oil plantation in Merauke was started in 1997 by Pt Tunas Sawa Erma, a subsidiary of the Korindo Group. There are currently six oil palm plantation companies which have begun operations on Malind Anim land in Merauke: PT Dongin Prabhawa (Korindo Group), PT Bio Inti Agrindo (Korindo Group) [awasMIFEE note: PT Bio Inti Agrindo was actually bought by Daewoo International in 2011, and still belongs
to that company as far as we know], PT Central Cipta Murdaya (CCM), PT Agriprima Cipta Persada, PT Hardaya Sawit Papua and PT Berkat Citra Abadi (Korindo Group). Hundreds of thousands of hectares of indigenous people’s land will be appropriated, the forest destroyed and replaced with large-scale oil palm plantations.

Oil-palm plantations along the shores of the Bian and Maro Rivers have already brought serious problems for the indigenous people and clans that live in the area and own the land.  Oil-palm companies have been clearing land by burning, which has polluted water in the rivers and swamps, damaged and wiped out cultural sites and caused irreplaceable damage to the natural environment.  This is aggravated by a lack of information about companies’ status and plans, wrongful identification
of which clans own or have rights over which land, insufficient payment of compensation and deception and manipulation of data.  As a result the clans and tribes living along the Maro and Bian rivers have been dispossessed of their customary lands.

On the 31st July2011, 13 civil society organisations signed and delivered a letter to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discriminaton (CERD), accusing the MIFEE Mega-Project of bringing about the destruction of indigenous societies in Papua and in Merauke in particular.  A response to this letter was received from Anwar Kemal, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimnation of Racial Discrimination, on the 2nd September 2011.  It requested that the Indonesian Government, which became a party to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 1965 when it ratified Law number 29 of 1999, to give a swift response and clarification before 31st January 2012.   Until now, the government has still not given its response. The government is showing neglect and disregard and it’s not for the first time – previously in 2007 they had planned to fell the forest along the whole Indonesia-Malaysia border for oil palm plantations.

Seeing the conditions that indigenous communities in the villages along the Bian and Maro rivers are currently facing, with their land already allocated to large scale oil palm plantation concessions, we strongly advocate the following:

1. Companies must be responsible and make restorations, as well as giving compensation to people living along the Bian River as far as Kaptel and the Maro River for the environmental damage and pollution caused by oil palm plantation operations.

2. The government must carry out a review and evaluation of the permits which have been given to oil palm plantations on indigenous land belonging to the clans and tribes which live in Merauke Regency, revoke and cancel location permits and withdraw all commercial cultivation rights from customary lands in Merauke Regency.

3. The government must stop issuing new permits in Merauke Regency before all current problems are resolved, as well as repairing the damage that has already been done to the various communities.

4. As a party which has ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 1965 through Law number 29 of 1999, the government must immediately respond to the Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Anwar Kemal’s letter dated 2nd  September 2011 (which was a response to the concerns raised to the UN CERD on 31st July 2011).

Source: Sawit Watch http://sawitwatch.or.id/2012/12/1047/
Translated and posted on awasMIFEE: https://awasmifee.potager.org/?p=302