Testimonials for West Papua Media

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.”
Edmund McWilliams,  retired Senior U.S. Foreign Service Officer and human rights advocate.  Former U.S. Embassy-Jakarta Political Counselor (1996-99).
“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”
Mark Davis, one of Australia’s foremost investigative and video journalists with longstanding coverage of West Papua.  He currently hosts Dateline on SBS TV 
“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.
Charlie Hill-Smith
writer/director – Strange Birds in Paradise – A West Papuan Story (Australia’s first feature documentary on West Papua)

“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:

5 thoughts on “Testimonials for West Papua Media

Add yours

  1. I find the professional approach and content surprisingly worldclass and a model for what is possible in the digital age.

  2. Senator Carr, I hope you hang your head in shame one day. Your views about West Papua and the West Papuan Indigenous people who are unable to defend their basic human rights are “incredibly patronising and incredibly arrogant”. (Good on Senator Di Natalie for having the guts on challenging Carr on West Papua). If you have spent any time in PNG like I have, you would understand that the Indigenous West Papuan people are the same Melanesian race as their brothers and sisters in PNG.
    The innocent West Papuans blood is on your hands and the ALP due to you and your political party’s complicity with the Indonesian government. Senator Carr, you must be aware that the Indonesian government bribes the financially poorer PNG army and police along the border, (though this trend is changing for the better), to send back refugees so that the West Papuan Indigenous people are unable to and have no chance at ever challenging their democratic right to make decisions for themselves from exile.
    Where does the UN Charter on Human Rights and The Jakarta Declaration on Health Promotion, tie in with this? Google this, seriously what a farce!
    Next time your defence minister decides to send military hardware over to Indonesia, i.e. Military transport planes, ask first what the TNI intends to use them for? Silencing and suppression of the West Papuan activists? What about Detachment 88?
    The shame goes on for the Australian Government.
    This situation in West Papua mirrors the tumultuous events in East Timor prior to and during the 1999 election since independence from the documented brutal Indonesian rule.
    I wrongly assumed that you and the ALP would have learned from history, i.e. East Timor, not to repeat the same mistakes and have the blind eyed foreign policy that previous Australian governments have had and still do, (West Papua under your government), to simply appease Jakarta.
    At least the Howard government righted the wrong with standing up to Jakarta into giving the East Timorese the right to end the brutal Indonesian rule, that they had endured for almost a quarter of a century.
    The West Papuan Indigenous activists and their supporters should not be imprisoned, shot, murdered, raped and mysteriously disappear from their communities for simply raising the Morning Star flag and exercising their democratic right for simply holding peaceful demonstrations so as to have the opportunity to the right for self determination.
    Once again, what is the Geneva Convention on Human Rights for? Does it not apply to West Papua?
    I’m sure your Indonesian counterpart would say that the West Papuan supporters have a very good imagination, as” Marty”( Raden Mohammad Marty Muliana) Natalegawa has said previously.
    I, along with the growing Australian and other foreign supporters of West Papua will not stop with our democratic right to voice our concerns over the treatment of the defenceless Indigenous West Papuans, until they are given the right to self determination, unlike the sham “Act of no choice” in 1969.
    Is it possible that you are just extremely ignorant of this situation in West Papua? If this is so, please Senator Carr, google West Papua and discover the truth for your own political and humanitarian benefit, and please have the courage and morale backbone/spine to stand up to Jakarta. (Not at the expense of the Indigenous West Papuans).
    Why has Jakarta expelled the Red Cross (please correct me if I am wrong) and other foreign organisations, media etc? Does Jakarta have something to hide?
    In conclusion to this short but poignant discussion, we should never be silenced when it comes to the basic human rights of humanity; we must keep fighting for the Indigenous West Papuans and never stop until they are given the right to self determination.
    I would appreciate it if you could respond and answer these issues that I have raised in this email to you Senator Carr.
    Yours sincerely
    Aaron Wallbank

  3. the constant use of high-level abstractions as ‘Jakata’ and ‘The Indonesian Government’ serve to obfuscate the reality behind the appalling threatment of the people of West Papua.

    As with Timor Leste, ‘I-rak’, Libya and Afghanistan (to name but a few), the invasion and occupation of all these countries by Western military forces was initiated by and on behalf of huge U$ and other western trans-national corporations in search of dwindling supplies of essential raw marterials, high-value minerals such as gold and energy sources such as oil.

    Constantly blaming the ‘brutal’ Indo military and government for the destruction of villages,
    beatings, rapes and murders hides those who benefit or profit, behind the scenes, from such ‘strategic initiatives’.

    a significant contributor to the success of the people of Bougainville in driving the giant Rio Tinto Corp out of their Island was public exposure of the company’s mal-practices towards both the people and the natural environment AND the role Australian politicians and bureaucrats played in supplying military equipment to the PNG government.

    Exposing THESE Indonesians (below) ought surely be an essential tactic: name ’em & shame ’em!




    1. John, whilst what you assert is correct, responsibility also lies with the person that pulls the trigger and tortures the civilian. Rio Tinto / Freeport does not force them to do it, though it is guilty of condoning it by not challenging it when it happens, and by providing materiel support to he security forces despite evidence of atrocity.
      Jakarta is an actor, it deploys the troops, it passes the laws that prevent freedom of expression and allowing persecution of unarmed civilians, and it pays its soldiers to carry out these atrocities. Sure there is tacit approval by Canberra, Washington and London, themselves all pawns of the Rio Tinto oligarchy, but that is very different to the orders coming from the head of Rio Tintos security division for example, even if he is a di Medici.
      But please remember, fundamentally we are a news and investigative journaism site with content generated from within West Papua from journalists inside West Papua, and as such are bound by the rules of ethical news journalism also. We do plenty of articles exposing the role of Rio Tinto and their behaviour, and also Indonesian oligarchs – and we are getting access to new information daily that we are going through verification on. We cannot just publish opinion, we have to have rock slid documentary and witness evidence, and that is very very hard to come by without on ground, clandestine investigation.

      But this costs money to do. Training in Safe Witness Journalism doesn’t just happen by itself, it cost $3500 to give a local journalist three weeks of training to get into closed military areas successfully. Terabytes of data and company records don’t sort themselves out, they need either large teams of full time journos, or advanced pattern analysis software, and despite appeals to help fund these, Westerners do not support the concept of funding independent journalism, and we cannot even pay for phone calls. But when so few people are prepared to donate cash to SUPPORT our INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM efforts and Media Safety Training in and for West Papua, we simply cannot cover all bases all the time.

      You want us to do more in depth coverage, then please help. look to your right and click on the big red Donate button, and help us do this.

      West Papua Media

  4. I am someone who considers myself fairly well informed, but never heard of this story till recently! I got a glimpse at a photo of a West Papuan couple who had been brutally killed by Indonesian forces. Then it was many days and now some weeks researching anything I could find about what is REALLY happening there. I have studied the Holocaust, the Trans Atlantic slave trade, even the Romans and their awful proclivities and fascinations with utter blood and gore spectacle. I have to say, the photos I have seen looking into this matter have deeply impressed me as some of the most heinous I have ever had the displeasure to look upon. Shame on all the complicit, and shame on us for not knowing what these criminals are doing to the people. For Indonesia to have invaded in the first place was a gross violation of the newly won independence of the West Papuan people. They are the rightful citizens of the land, and the land is NOT Indonesia! The
    UN should do their job and right the wrongs. No money is worth destroying Paradise for profit! FREE WEST PAPUA NOW! FIFTY TWO YEARS IS TOO LONG TO WAIT ONE MORE DAY! Exploiters leave, so the people can heal and regain their rightful homeland!

Please leave a comment. Keep it nice to other users, and remember, no disrepect tolerated. Yell at the killers, not each other; Criticise the abusers deed, not their race or faith.. And please keep it relevant and punchy.

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