Tag Archives: Reporters Without Borders

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

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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.)

Scepticism as Papuan governor Enembe invites foreign journalists to Papua

Tabloid Jubi

by Alexander Leon

October 9, 2013

JAYAPURA, 9/10 – Papuan Provincial Governor, Lukas Enembe, shows progress by inviting foreign journalists to visit the most Eastern part of Indonesia.

“Yes, why not? Of course they can come here, there is no problem, because foreign journalists must see straight away the progress which is happening here in Papua,” said Governor Lukas Enembe to journalists in Jayapura, Wednesday (9/10).

What has happened or occurred in Papua cannot be hidden, because the outside world must also know what is actually happening in Papua. If this matter is hidden, the outside world will ask questions.

“Foreign journalists must see the progress which is happening in Papua. We can’t hide what is definitely happening here, but if we are open they can see the massive changes which are occurring,” he said.

Before, Independent Journalist Alliance (AJI) a press organisation, has not yet seen a positive reaction from the Indonesian government about the international community’s demands which are to allow open access for international journalists in Papua. In 2012, Marty Natalegawa the Indonesian Foreign Minister, said to a group of foreign journalists in Indonesia that there were 35 foreign journalists who were given access to the Papuan Province from 2011 – 2012. Although these journalists experienced Papua, not all journalists can gain coverage of the news in Papua.

“Seven foreign journalists have been deported from Papua because of their journalistic work. Marty then promised to review this case, although he confessed he was worried about their safety,” said Jayapura’s AJI Worker’s Union & Avocation’s co-ordinator, Jack Wally.

According to AJI Jayapura, who reject Marty’s statement saying some journalists from New Zealand, Netherlands, England and Australia all experienced difficulties when submitting and applying for entry visas into Papua. AJI Jayapura sees the Indonesian government as not having an attitude which is clear between limiting and opening a space for foreign journalists, because there’s not yet any formal regulations which limit foreign journalists from entering Papua, but in practice international journalists believe they’re limited because of the difficulties in obtaining an entry visa. AJI Jayapura see this situation as proving the grey space which allows the hampering of independent and free press processes in Indonesia, which in turn has the potential to downgrade Indonesia in the World Press Freedom Index.

(Editor: Cunding Levi, translated by West Papua Media translators)

RSF: JOURNALIST KILLED AS GUNMEN ATTACK PLANE AT PAPUA PROVINCE AIRPORT

Reporters Without Borders

PUBLISHED ON WEDNESDAY 11 APRIL 2012.

Reporters Without Borders offers its condolences to the family and friends of Leiron Kogoya, a journalist with the newspapers Pasific Post and Papua Pos Nabire, part of the Pacific Post group, who was killed in an attack by gunmen on a plane at Mulia airport in the province of Papua three days ago.

“Although the journalist did not appear to be the target of the attack, it illustrates the insecurity that prevails in the region, where at least two other journalists were killed late last year,” the press freedom organization said.

“Covering the Papua region is highly risky for journalists. Leiron Kogoya was among those courageous reporters who strive to keep the world informed about the region, which has been the scene of violent clashes. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

“We expect the authorities to shed light on the attack. Contradictory information about the identity of those behind the shooting said to have been provided by security forces to journalists indicates that an independent investigation must be carried out as soon as possible.”

The plane, a Twin Otter of the Indonesian airline Trigana Air, landed at Mulia at about 8 am when at least five gunmen opened fire. The pilot and co-pilot, who were both hit, lost control of the aircraft, which then crashed into one of the terminal buildings. Four people were wounded. Kogoya, was fatally shot in the neck.

The 35-year-old reporter was flying to Mulia in the Puncak Jaya district to cover local elections in the provincial capital, Jayapura.

Photo by: Agus Fakaubun

The news website westpapuamedia.info quoted the head of public relations for the Papua police, Commander Yohanes Nugroho Wicaksono, as saying the gunmen were hiding in the hills 50 metres from the airport. It said police had not yet been able to identify the perpetrators or the type of guns they used.

According to military intelligence, the separatist group Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, or OPM, in Indonesian) was behind the attack, while local police said they had no information about the identity of the attackers.

Indonesia is ranked 146th of 179 countries in the 2011-2012 world press freedom index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

West Papua violence hits Indonesian RSF media rankings – NZ, Fiji fall

Thursday, January 26, 2012

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PARIS (Reporters sans frontières / Pacific Media Watch): An Indonesian military crackdown in the West Papua region, where at least two journalists were killed, five kidnapped and 18 assaulted in 2011, is the main reason for the country’s fall to 146th position in the annual Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

A corrupt judiciary that is too easily influenced by politicians and pressure groups and government attempts to control the media and Internet have prevented the development of a freer press, said the 2011 RSF report released today.

West Papua strongly featured in an earlier Pacific Journalism Review media freedom report which condemned Indonesia’s human rights record in October.

Fiji, which has a draconian media decree imposed by the military backed regime that seized power in a 2006 coup, dropped again to 117th. The survey was completed before the Pacific country lifted  its Public Emergency Regulations (PER) earlier this year.

Countries that have “traditionally been good performers in the Asia-Pacific region did not shine in 2011”, the RSF report said.

“With New Zealand’s fall to 13th position, no country in the region figured among the top 10 in the index.

“Hong Kong (54th) saw a sharp deterioration in press freedom in 2011 and its ranking fell sharply.

“Arrests, assaults and harassment worsened working conditions for journalists to an extent not seen previously, a sign of a worrying change in government policy.

“In Australia (30th), the media were subjected to investigations and criticism by the authorities, and were denied access to information, while in Japan (22nd) coverage of the tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear accident gave rise to excessive restrictions and exposed the limits of the pluralism of the country’s press.”

The best ranked Pacific Islands nation was Papua New Guinea (35th), three places above France (38th) which has territories in the region.

Samoa (54th) ranked equal with Hong Kong, just ahead of the United States territories and well clear of Tonga (63rd) and Timor-Leste (86th). Vanuatu, which has been a problem over the past year, was not listed. Nor was the Solomon Islands.

“In the Philippines (140th), which rose again in the index after falling in 2010 as a result of the massacre of 32 journalists in Ampatuan in November 2009, paramilitary groups and private militias continued to attack media workers,” the RSF report said.

“The judicial investigation into the Ampatuan massacre made it clear that the response of the authorities was seriously inadequate.

“In Afghanistan (150th) and Pakistan (151st), violence remained the main concern for journalists, who were under constant threat from the Taliban, religious extremists, separatist movements and political groups.

“With 10 deaths in 2011, Pakistan (151st) was the world’s deadliest country for journalists for the second year in a row.”

Full RSF world press freedom report index – Asia-Pacific

Pacific Journalism Review 2011 media freedom report

NGOs Say US Got it Wrong on Indonesian Human Rights

FYI

Dessy Sagita | April 11, 2011

Indonesian activists on Sunday criticized the US government for praising Indonesia’s progress on human rights, saying that the barometer used for the report could be misleading.

“I’m a bit concerned with the diplomatic statements made by some countries regarding Indonesia’s progress on human rights, because it could give people the wrong perception about what’s really happening,” Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), told the Jakarta Globe.

As in previous editions, the US State Department’s annual survey on human rights pointed to concerns in Indonesia, this year including accounts of unlawful killings in violence-torn Papua along with violations of freedom of religion.

But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while presenting on Friday the mammoth, 7,000-page global report, pointed to Indonesia as a success story.

“Indonesia boasts a vibrant free media and a flourishing civil society at the same time as it faces up to challenges in preventing abuses by its security forces and acting against religious intolerance,” she was quoted by foreign wire agencies as saying.

The survey covers the period before Islamic fanatics brutally killed three members of the Ahmadiyah sect in early February, raising questions over Indonesia’s commitment to safeguard minority rights.

The concern over Papua is primarily a reference to the torture of two civilians there last year by soldiers. They were subsequently court-martialed in January but given sentences of less than a year, a punishment slammed by the influential group Human Rights Watch as far too lenient to send a message that abuse was unacceptable.

Kontras’s Haris said both indicators presented by the US government — that Indonesia has been progressing in terms of media independence and better access for civil societies to voice their concern — were also incorrect.

“Freedom of journalism? I don’t think so. It’s still fresh in our minds that several journalists have been brutally attacked because of their reporting, some were even murdered,” he said.

“And in terms of flourishing civil societies, it’s true, non-government organizations are mushrooming, but what’s the point if human rights defenders and anticorruption activists are assaulted?” he added.

According to Kontras, in 2010 alone more than 100 human rights activists here were victimized and many of the perpetrators remain free.

And according to Reporters Without Borders, when it comes to press freedom, Indonesia ranks very low, much worse than it did several years ago when Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid was the president.

The US report in some ways echoes progress noted by New York-based Human Rights Watch in its own annual review of human rights practices around the globe, released in January. Then it noted that while serious human rights concerns remained, Indonesia had over the past 12 years made great strides in becoming a stable, democratic country with a strong civil society and independent media.

But Andreas Harsono, from Human Rights Watch, said it was perplexing that the US government would compliment Indonesia’s progress on rights.

“It’s a big joke,” he said. “Attacks against Ahmadiyah have been happening since 2008, after the joint ministerial decree was issued, and attacks against churches during SBY’s six-year tenure are even more prevalent than during the five decades in which Sukarno and Suharto ruled,” he said.

Additional reporting by AP, AFP