Category Archives: briefing from West Papua Media

WestPapuaMedia is about to clear a backlog of articles – please be patient.

Editorial Note

June 26, 2016

West Papua Media (WPM) has not been regularly publishing on site recently due to a number of issues beyond our control, and also much behind the scenes work that we are doing to support the long-term support for journalism safety in Papua.  This is a necessary step to develop some truly innovative solutions, so we ask for your patience and support.

The delays are have been also exacerbated by:

  • the amount of translators available currently being far less than the volume to be translated,
  • a significant workload in developing new and exciting security, reportage, and monitoring infrastructure and tools,
  • and a very large amount of new material to sift through, translate, transcribe, verify, qualify, compile, edit, layout and geolocate.

WPM has almost completed a large backlog of articles, partner content, photo reports, videos and wrap ups that should be published in full by the end of the week.  We will be publishing partner content as it comes in, but some of our longer authored work will be delayed a little longer.

In the meantime, please make sure you follow our Twitter feed for both normal updates, and of course our #LiveUpdatesPapua real-time crisis monitoring feed.  We have embedded the Live Updates feed also in the sidebar at the right, and will embed our normal twitter feed as a sticky on the front page of WestPapuaMedia.info

You can help speed this process in a number of ways:

  • by joining our team!:
    • We are keenly seeking more volunteers who can help in the following
      • editorial staff,
      • journalists (inside and outside of Papua),
      • translators,
      • video producers,
      • Contributors
      • audio reporters,
      • digital asset managers/ archivists,
      • website managers.
      • Financial specialists/ accountant
      • crowdfunding gurus
      • XML and app coders
    • These are all volunteer positions currently, but if you show some commitment, funding will be available to assist expenses.  Significant positive career exposure will happen for all those who work with us, as we have a large network of media allies.  If you would like to help, Please send a private message to Editor (@) westpapuamedia.info or call us at +61498239869
  • by keeping an ear out for our upcoming support and crowdfunding appeal for new projects and direct support to West Papuan journalists safety and security on the ground;
  • Of course we are most critically seeking your assistance and donations to continue this work.  You can donate to us at westpapuamedia.info/donate

Please stay tuned as we have some more significant and exciting announcements over the coming weeks.

 

Oktovianus Pogau, from a rcent instagram post. (Foto:Okto)

Breaking: Oktovianus Pogau, West Papuan Journalist, dies.

Editorial

by West Papua Media Editors

February 1, 2016

Rest In Peace Oktovianus Pogau.

WEST PAPUA MEDIA INVITES FRIENDS OF OKTO TO SHARE THEIR STORIES OF HIM WITH US, EITHER IN THE COMMENTS BELOW, OR AS A SEPARATE TRIBUTE PIECE.  WE ARE PUTTING TOGETHER A TRIBUTE FOR OKTO’S TOO SHORT LIFE AND WE ARE ENCOURAGING AND WELCOMING CONTRIBUTIONS, ESPECIALLY VIDEO AND PHOTGRAPHIC.  PLEASE CONTACT US FOR MORE DETAILS

West Papua has lost a dearly loved comrade journalist, Oktovianus Pogau, to complications from lung disease, at the Dian Harapan Hospital in Jayapura, West Papua, at around 9.30pm, on Sunday January 31.

West Papua Media expresses the deepest condolences to his family and close friends for the loss of our great friend, a hero of Papua and a crusading journalist.  Many friends of West Papua Media will also be friends of Okto and be familiar with his amazing work.  As a member of the Mee Pago from Intan Jaya district, Okto was a pioneering voice for West Papuan youth, a dedicated and brave journalist who fearlessly covered the aspirations and demonstrations of Papuan desire for liberation.

We counted on Okto as a founding source and undercover journalist, and a key plank of our verification program for fast and accurate international coverage of events in West Papua.

Okto went onto found and become the Editor of www.SuaraPapua.com (Voice of Papua) and http://pogauokto.blogspot.co.id/ , where he daily wrote of Papuan aspirations for liberation, despite a heavy cost, including several arrests and severe beatings by the Indonesian security forces for his tireless advocacy.  One such event caused Okto Pogau to become internationally recognised as a journalist at risk, after he was severely beaten and choked by Indonesian Police at a demonstration in Manokwari on October 23, 2012. Coverage and advocacy of this outrage caused the head of Police to be forced to apologise to Pogau and offer a degree of compensation.  However Okto simply continued on with his work without fanfare.

West Papua Media is also proud to have collaborated with Okto closely for several groundbreaking stories, including his gathering of torture footage in 2010 that changed the international dialogue around West Papua and shone a bright light on the impunity of the Indonesian security forces and their treatment of West Papuan civilians.

Okto had just returned from a journalism fellowship in the United States prior to his sudden severe illness, brought on by respiratory issues that plagued him for most of his life and shared with many of his countrymen.

His body has been interred overnight in the intan Jaya hostel for transport and burial in his home village, and a memorial service will be soon announced.

More to come
West Papua Media

Okto, dear young brother,
you were a friend, a comrade journalist, and unbelievably brave man.  Your dedication for the truth was an inspiration to so many young Papuans who have followed you into the new journalism that tells the truth of Papuan experience and aspirations.  Your words gave voice to the suppressed voice of youth, and you resisted constantly the threats from the Indonesian state to alert the world to both the dreams of freedom and the cries of suffering in West Papua.
Okto, you were a pioneer in so many ways, and were responsible for shining a light on some of the darkest secrets of West Papua’s suffering under Indonesia.  You copped so much suffering yourself from the State, but still managed to tell the story about others.
As a founding source, stringer and adviser to the internationally focused West Papua Media network, you created a new level awareness of the situation in Papua and around the world.
As a child of the Mee Pago, you have made your people very proud.  My deepest sympathies go to your family and friends, and your tribe.  Papua has lost overnight a bright star, but the star will keep shining for many others to follow.
I am deeply sorry brother that your last days were in such pain, but you achieved so much in your young life.  This is a great shock to us all.  Only the good die young.
Farewell young brother, comrade journalist.  You are going to be very sorely missed.
with love and respect for a life full of achievement cut too short.
go well into the light.
Nick Chesterfield
Redaktur/Editor
West Papua Media

West Papua is still dangerous for journalism: Urgent reminder to all foreign journalists applying to report in West Papua

WestPapuaMedia Editorial / Urgent Safety Briefing

May 11, 2015

WestPapuaMedia is greatly concerned that the statements made on May 9 by Indonesian President Joko (Jokowi) Widodo in Jayapura regarding the ending of the foreign media ban for journalists to visit West Papua, is not being given due diligence by foreign media, and reminds all foreign media workers that West Papua is and still remains an incredibly dangerous place for journalists to report, and present an even greater threat to the safety of all journalism sources.

A full analysis of the actuality of the so-called “lifting” of the foreign media ban in West Papua will be released by West Papua Media’s team in the coming days, including analysis from our clandestine journalists who operate daily in the reality of the Papuan media environment, under threat constantly from Indonesian security forces.

This statement was made in the context of travelling the following day to Papua New Guinea, in bid to quash Melanesian support for West Papuan aspirations for self-determination, specifically the West Papuan bid to be granted observer status at the upcoming Melanesian Spearhead Group meetings

Despite Jokowi’s graceful and well executed “Juru Bicara” (Straight Talking) image, the reality on the ground in West Papua is that he has little control over the actions of security forces.  In west Papua.  Journalists, media workers, fixers and sources are routinely denied access, harassed, surveilled physically and electronically,, threatened, arrested, monstered, beaten, disappeared and even murdered by all the various organs of Indonesian colonial control in West Papua, with a list of perpetrators including (but not limited to) Police, Australian Trained Detachment 88 anti-terror commandos, military, National Intelligence Body (BIN), military intelligence, police intelligence, Kopassus special forces, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, forestry officials, customs, immigration, mining officials, Indonesian bureaucrats, pro-Jakarta transmigrant militias, and the ever-present Ojek (motorbike taxi) riders / intelligence officers.

The media freedom status in West Papua reached its lowest point in 2011, due to a series of murders, stabbings and disappearances of journalists across West Papua  This situation that prompted Reporters Without Borders to rank Indonesia at 146 out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index, only climbing to 139th place for 2014, due to international monitoring led by West Papua Media and our network partners in West Papua.

This lifting of the foreign media ban is completely without power or credibility until both a formal Presidential Instruction is made, together with a national law is passed and enforced that penalizes anyone who prevents free, full and unfettered access for ALL media workers in Papua.

Jokowi’s real attitude is telling however.  Just a few hours later in Merauke, he was quoted in Antara with his real attitude to “media freedom” in West Papua. “Don’t ask that question, that’s enough,” Antara quoted Jokowi saying when he was asked about a fact that usually foreign journalists prefer to cover activities of illegal armed groups.

Operating in West Papua for journalists will remain an extremely dangerous activity.  Even though it is unlikely a foreign journalist will be physically harmed it is not unknown.  Foreign journalists have been beaten, poisoned, interrogated, and some have died in highly suspicious circumstances in the past.

However, it is journalists’ sources that are most at risk, especially if communications and data are left unsecured.  All journalists have an unbreakable ethical duty to ensure the safety of sources, and without specific technologies used.  West Papua Media has a suite of digital and practical technologies developed from our Safe Witness Journalism training units, and we also can provide secure handsets for journalists travelling to West Papua.

West Papua Media also can provide an unparalleled secure fixing service that ensures foreign journalists are fully briefed to the security situation in all parts of Papua, and to be able to report without putting any sources at risk.

Last August, one person died, many went into hiding, and 5 were arrested due to unsecured data, notes, emails and phone calls allegedly held by the two French journalists arrested in Wamena in August, against the express guarantees on source security given to West Papua Media.

Only journalists can prevent their sources being put in danger.  Make no mistake, Indonesian occupation forces will harm journalists’ sources and journalists seeking to report on human rights abuses and violations of freedom of expression.  We suggest all journalists seeking to report on Papua read our Source Protection Policy for more information, and contact us to arrange training for full data and communications security for mobile journalism.  WPM also offers the ONLY civil resistance coverage media safety training available, which we can arrange for a  reasonable cost.

However, WPM remains sceptical on the latest claims of lifting the foreign media ban.  There have been too many previous claims that this will end, including several by Jokowi himself. Let’s wait and see how and if the security forces even listen to their president.

There are some minimum tests that will prove if the media ban is lifted in Papua:

  • Will the most outspoken foreign journalists be allowed to report from West Papua with full media freedom and access?
  • A large number of Independent and Mainstream Journalists who have previously reported inside West Papua have been threatened and banned from WP by security forces – will our bans be lifted?
  • Journalists who seek to report on topics opposed by government or security forces must be allowed full and free access without let, danger or hindrance from security forces.
  • One of the WPM editors still have outstanding arrest warrants on Makar (Treason and Subversion), Destabilisation and Espionage charges for Legitimate journalism activities – charges that need to be rescinded immediately;
  • the assassination threats on all sources and journalists, including WPM staff, need to be ended, and those making them arrested;
  • all DPO (Daftar Pencarian Orang – or Wanted Persons list) listings on all media workers in Papua must be cancelled;
  • all journalists must be allowed free and unfettered access across Papua and West Papua without intelligence agencies, police or military harassment, surveillance (physical or electronic) or intimidation of journalists, witnesses, sources, fixers and assistants or their families;
  • and of course, free and unfettered access to ALL areas of Papua, including mining, forestry and resource extraction areas, prisons, and military operations areas .

To reiterate, until these minimum conditions are guaranteed by an actual InPres (Presidential Instruction) in law, with penalties enforced for any official that prevents or ignores it, then this is just an utterance.

Nevertheless, Jokowi did say it, he was interviewed about it, and this was the statement that was made. Whether or not it is really enacted doesn’t take away from the fact that here is a clear undertaking.

Of course, letting in foreign journalists who don’t believe the hype, who are currently on charge or banned from West Papua by Indonesia will be the real test.

And making sure that the police and military answer critical questions when they kill civilians is part of that (including not hanging up on phone calls from WPM).  It is highly unlikely that the State Violence Forces are going to suddenly stop tailing and harming journalists, human rights defenders and media workers, unless they are arrested for it.

WPM will still operate with great scepticism the alleged lifting of the Foreign media Ban in West Papua, and about anything Jakarta (or any government) ever says: that is the job of journalism. WPM will still need to operate clandestinely, and we will still need support to train and supply people for safe witness journalism. Now more than ever, West Papua Media needs you support to train and supply independent clandestine journalists with the tools to safely report from the ground in West Papua.  It costs $3000 to support one journalist with secure and robust equipment for mobile newsgathering, $3000 to provide intensive Safe Witness Journalism training.  You can help by visiting this page to make a donation or longer term support.

This alleged end of the media ban is stage-managed and not at all genuine.  As far as we are concerned, the Papua Media Blackout remains firmly in place.

WestPapuaMedia Editorial

West Papua Media’s April break from publishing

Editorial Statement

April 19, 2014

West Papua Media has recently taken a month long break from publishing original content.  This has occurred for a variety of reasons, but please rest assured, we will be back on deck in full capacity in the lead up to the May 1 cycle of Papuan resistance to provide necessary and timely coverage of civil resistance and human rights issues.

One part of this break has been due to events beyond human control, such as the presence of Nick Chesterfield, Coordinating Editor, in remote areas in northern Australia for training, cultural and personal reasons, and subsequent inability to travel or access reliable internet  due to being repeatedly caught in the path of a recent category five Cyclone, which cause significant flooding and road damage.

Secondly, WPM’s Editorial team has been working from a skeleton staff since January, due to training and field work commitments, and also sustainability issues faced by every member of our journalism crew – a situation which has forced us to work cash jobs to survive.  This could have been avoided had we received enough recurring donations (subscriptions) to pay our costs, but unfortunately the lack of funding for phone calls for example means we are unable to verify and initiate complex stories to WPM’s high standards.   You can help us increase our capacity in the future by clicking on the big red Donate button at West Papua Media, or if you are sharing on Facebook, by clicking on the link at our mirror URL at http://westpapuamedia.tumblr.com/post/79287889774/donate-to-support-media-freedom-for-west-papua (WPM has had to do this as Facebook is still banning all WPM links due to malicious false reporting by the Indonesian government).  A commitment of a regular donation or subscription is the most useful way you can support us financially.  If you cannot support us financially, we are always looking for folks to donate skills with translations, social media dissemination, and crowdfunding support (to name a few tasks) and would welcome you into the team.

Thirdly, we have been organising some in-depth fixing work for international media which has taken some significant time and effort, but the results will be worth it later in the year.

WPM Editors are also currently continuing in depth investigations into incidents in Yapen, Paniai, the northern PNG border area and the Highland regions, and of course ongoing investigations in other sectors of West Papuan civil society.

Finally, we are also completing consolidation and curriculum development for our Safe Witness Journalism training projects, and about to start testing and some exciting new partnerships with global partners committed to the education and safety of citizen and professional media.  We will keep you posted as these partnership progress.

Of course, our Twitter feed (twitter.com/westpapuamedia) has all the latest breaking news from across the wider WPM network of partners, and will continue to be the first point at which breaking news is posted.

Even when WPM is not publishing, our original partner Tabloid Jubi’s English-language West Papua Daily will provide updates for critical news.  We have a RSS feed on the right hand sidebar of our site.

So, see you back soon!