Tag Archives: military intimidation of journalists

PMC: Detained French journos may face five years in prison

French journalists Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat. Image: Free West Papua Campaign

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Item: 8952

JAYAPURA (Sydney Morning Herald / Pacific Media Watch / West Papua Media Alerts): Indonesian authorities want to jail two French journalists for five years for the “crime” of reporting from West Papua without journalists’ visas.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday that instead of deporting journalists Thomas Dandois, 40, and Valentine Bourrat,29, as is normal practice, Indonesian authorities want the maximum sentence.

The head of the Immigration Office in Papua, Garda Tampubolon, told Fairfax Media that the journalists would remain in jail until their trial started, which might be next month.

Dandois and Bourrat have already been in custody for a month.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

“Police spokesman Sulistyo Pudjo said the criminal subversion investigation was under way but ‘this is a very complicated case, it is not easy’. The charge carries a 20-year jail sentence. Police have indicated in the past that Dandois and Bourrat are under suspicion over an ammunition swap gone wrong in the Papua Highlands, during which two police officers were shot. However, the only evidence of their alleged involvement appears to be that they interviewed political separatists”.

It appears that Indonesia wishes to deter foreign journalists from reporting on their 50-year military occupation of West Papua because they are persisting with charging Bourrat and Dandois even though the journalists issued an apology for reporting without the correct visa.

Arte TV’s production house has also promised not to use any footage which “may discredit Indonesia’s reputation”, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Meanwhile, the West Papua Media news service reports that several West Papuans have been arrested for meeting with Dandois and Bourrat last month.

These are respected indigenous West Papuan leader, Areki Wanimbo, who met with the journalists on the day they were arrested, along with Deni Dow and Jornus Wenda who also attended the meeting.

Theo Hesegem and a Mr Logo, who accompanied the journalists to the meeting with Wanimbo, were also arrested.

Low, Wenda and Dow were interrogated for 24 hours before being released without charge, but Wanimbo remains in detention and has been charged with “complicity to misuse a permit” and “treason”.

The “treason” charge relates to Wanimbo collecting donations for a meeting to discuss West Papua’s membership application to the Melanesia Spearhead Groups (MSG).

 

(West Papua Media editorial note:  As West Papua Media is accused by the Indonesian police of being a participant in this case, and its editor has also been threatened by Indonesian police with illegal extradition (rendition) for arrest under subversion and espionage charges; for ethical and security reasons, all reportage on this case is being done via our partners at the Pacific Media Centre and syndicated here.  We thank our partners for their continued support during this difficult time.)

Violence and intimidation of journalists in Papua in 2012

27 December 2012
The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) has recorded twelve cases of violence and intimidation against journalists Papua  during 2012,which is a significant increase as compared with 2011, when there were seven cases.
Journalists in Jayapura hold Demo to Reject Violence Against Journalists. (Jubi / Arjuna)
Journalists in Jayapura hold Demo to Reject Violence Against Journalists. (Jubi / Arjuna)

The first case was violence and intimidation against journalists in Papua and West Papua wanting to cover the trial of Forkorus Yaboisembut and his colleagues at the district court in Jayapura on 8 February when they were  physically intimidated, pulled and pushed as they were entering the courtroom. Those responsible were members of the police force in Jayapura. The victims were: Katerina Litha of Radio KBR 68 H  Jakarta. Robert Vanwi of  Suara Pemnaharuan, Jakarta, Josrul Sattuan of TV One, Irfan of Bintang Papua, and Cunding Levi of Tempo.

The second case was against Radang Sorong, a journalist with Cahaja Papua  and Paskalis  of Media Papua, from February until May in West Papua by the police chief of Manokwari, who were preventing journalists from reporting expressions of support for dialogue and a referendum in Papua. Three local journalists said that they had been  under pressure while writing critical reports about political matters, law and human rights violations and political prisoners. One of the journalists from Manokwari was instructed to restrict his reporting about political, legal matters and human rights violations.

The third case was in Abepura on 20 March when Josrul from TV One, Marcel from Media Indonesia, Irfan from Bintang Papua and Andi Irfan of Radio KBR 68 H Jakarta were attacked by members of KNPB, the National Committee of West Papua who were involved in an action outside the Post Office in Abepura. On a separate occasion, outside Polimak, Jayapura, Timbar Gultom of  Papua Pos was ordered to identify himself. When he replied that he  was from Papua Pos,  the people did not believe him and started chasing him. He was able to hide in a house nearby.

The fifth case  was when three journalists in the district of Jayapura, Yance of Radio Kenambai Ombar, Putu of KBR 68 H Jakarta and Suparti of Cenderawasih Pos were verbally intimidated and chased  by some members of the KNPB.on 20 March.

The sixth case was when a journalist from TV One, Josrul Sattuan was beaten by an unidentified person when he was trying to report on the situation in Jayapura following a series of  violent incidents and shooting incidents that occurred in various in places in Jayapura. The physical attack occurred at Abepura Circle on Thursday evening on 7th June.

The seventh case was when a journalist from Metro TV, Abdul Muin who was in Manokwari was attacked by someone from the Fishing Service in who intimidated him with an air gun.The victim told JUBI that the incident started when a member of the Fishing Service sent him a brief message on 8th June asking him and other journalists to cover an incident  of bombing a hoard of fish by a group of  people who were being held in the Manokwari Prison.

The eighth case occurred in Timika on 20 September.The victim was Mohammad Yamin, a contributor to  RCTI, Simson Sambuari of Metro TV, Husyen Opa of Salam Papua and the photographer for Antara News Agency, and David Lalang of Salam Papua.They were prevented from recording some events in the Pamako Harbour.

The ninth case involved Oktavianus  Pogau of suarapua.com and stringer for Jakarta Globe.  This occurred in Manokwari on 22 October. Okto were beaten up by several members of the police force, some in uniforms and others  not wearing their uniforms, who were battling with members of the KNPB in Manokwari.  The victims was thought to be part of a crowd of people involved in a demonstration, even though they had clearly identified themselves.

The tenth case was  when Sayied Syech Boften of Papua Barat Pos was attacked on 1 November by a person who identified himself as a member of the local legislative assembly, Hendrik G. Wairara. The victim was threatened and intimidated among others things by phone. The victim was warned to stop reporting about corruption in a project  involving the extension of the electrification system  and the maintenance of BBM machinery in Raja Ampat District. On the same day, the assistant of the chairman of the the local DPRD flew into a rage while he was at the editorial office of Papua Barat Pos.

The eleventh case occurred on 8 November when Esau Miram of Cenderawasih Pos  was intimidated as he was reporting on a gathering at the office of the Commander of the   XVII Nilitary Command and all the heads of departments in Papua.They were accused of being terrorists even though Esau had shown his  identity card as a journalist.

The twelfth case occurred on 1 December  when Benny Mawel of JUBI was interrogated by members of the police force  near Abepura Circle  for reporting about a large crowd of people who were carrying banners while marching from Abepura to Waena. Benny showed his journalist identity card, but a group of around ten people accused him of not being a journalist. As he was travelling on his motorbike  towards a repair centre, he was followed by some people there who starting asking whether he knew where Benny was.

Victor Mambor added the following: AJI reported two cases, the shooting of a Twin Otter  plane belonging to Trigana Air by an unidantified person in Mulia Airfield, Puncak Jaya on 8th April which killed Leiron Kogoya  who was first said to be a journalist of Papua Pos, Nabire and then the arrest and deportation of a Czech man, Petra Zamencnik who identified himself as a journalist with finecentrum.com. On 9 February, there was inconsistently about the status of the victim, whether he was a journalist or not, or whether he was involved in journalistic activities.

Suroso also confirmed that when the identity of Leiron  was checked, it turns out that  he was not at the time engaged in journalistic activities.but had gone to Mulia for personal reasons. Leiron had not registered himself as a journalist of  Papua Pos Nabire.  As regards Petr Zamencnik. he was unable to prove that he was a journalist. AJI Jayapura  sought confirmation with finecentrum.com about his status  and he was described as being the editor for financial affairs in the Czech Republic.

[Translated by TAPOL]