West Papua Media was founded in 2008 as a means of bypassing the Indonesian government ban on Foreign Journalists accessing West Papua. Since that time, our reportage of events, people’s resistance to, and abuses under Indonesian occupation has ensured that the story gets out effectively, and increasingly, into newsrooms across the world. This activity has rendered the Indonesian media ban largely redundant, and completely ineffective.
Here is a selection of what people have to say about the work of West Papua Media internationally:
“One of the most difficult challenges facing those engaged in international human rights advocacy is the penetration of barriers created by rights-violating regimes to international monitoring. Through the erection of travel restrictions, intimidation of local populations and in particular threats to journalists and local human rights advocates, administering authorities block effective monitoring of areas where rights violations are transpiring.The Indonesian government, for many decades, has maintained just such a barrier around West Papua, the territory that it invaded five decades ago and, through a transparently bogus, but unfortunately UN-approved, “Act of Free Choice,” it annexed in 1969. Its five decade control has been marked by genocidal policies that have devastated the indigenous Papuan population. Those policies have been enforced by military operations which have led to the slaughter of scores of thousands of civilians.For decades Papuans, relying largely on peaceful means, have sought to assert their right to self-determination and to alert the international community to the systematic violation of their human rights.The Indonesian government, relying on its brutal security forces, which have the backing of the US, Australian and other governments, has especially targeted those Papuans who have sought to convey their plight to the rest of the world. Papuan rights advocates, journalists and emerging political leaders have been beaten, tortured and killed with impunity.Since 2008 one organization has had remarkable success in giving Papuans a voice that is increasingly being heard within the international community. West Papua Media has established unmonitored links to Papuan human rights advocates and media who bravely operate within the repressive Indonesian administration of West Papua. Through these links, the true story of Indonesian brutality and mal-administration has begun to resound around the world. Video and audio accounts of torture by Indonesian security forces against Papuan civilians … (include link to 2010 account)… have supplemented detailed and fact-based written accounts to provide a graphic and undeniable record of Indonesia’s violation of fundamental international law.Human rights advocates in the international community owe a great debt to West Papua Media which through its voluminous and highly credible reporting, has given voice to the extraordinary suffering of the Papuan people.”
“I have no hesitation in recommending West Papua Media as the prime source of news and video footage from West Papua. With a very effective media blackout operating in the province, WPM is the one of the very few organisations that have been able to peer behind the curtain there. Over the last 2 years in particular they have utilised their network of camera operators to capture the most relevant events in West Papua and get that material out in a timely manner. I have always found the information WPM provides to be credible and considered”
“I’ve lived and travelled in Indonesia for 25 years, and despite studying the geo-politics of South-East Asia, I’d heard little or nothing about the remote Indonesian provence of West Papua. According to Yale University, the human rights disaster in West Papua has cost over 400, 000 lives since 1960. This shameful situation has been kept secret by powerful vested interests for four decades, but finally the silence has been shattered.Nick Chesterfield and West Papua Media have been at the forefront of illuminating this secret, unofficial war. West Papua Media is connected to West Papuans on the ground and in action across the provence and as a documentary film maker and social commentator, I consider it the point of contact for breaking stories from inside West Papua and Indonesia.
“I am writing a letter of commendation about the work of the West Papua Media Office and its impressive efforts over several years to support independent journalism on West Papua issues and to inform the wider community on the realities of serious human rights problems in this Melanesian territory bordering Papua New Guinea. In my capacity as director of AUT University’s Pacific Media Centre, I have worked with WPM on several projects, notably with the coordinator, Nick Chesterfield, who collaborated with us on the preparation of the Pacific Media Freedom 2011 report published by Pacific Journalism Review research journal last year. Nick provided the important West Papua research required for this landmark document, which will shortly be republished as a monograph report.
In truth, we depend heavily on the well-researched material and documentation provided by West Papua Media Alerts in our news website Pacific Scoop www.pacific.scoop.co.nz and also in our Pacific Media Centre Online www.pmc.aut.ac.nz, plus we also distribute news items on our Pacific Media Watch e-list. The work being done by West Papua Media Alerts is extremely important and needs committed ongoing support. Without the West Papua Media team’s dedication and professionalism, the global media community and the wider public would have great difficulty getting reliable information.”
Professor David Robie, PhD Director Pacific Media Centre, School of Communication Studies, AUT University, Auckland NZ
What do YOU think of West Papua Media? How do you think we could improve? What suggestions would you have to help us increase global media awareness an action on West Papua? We would love some comments and testimonials from YOU: