30 Jul 2013

West Papuan media pressured over pro-independence reportage

4:44 pm on 30 July 2013

The chairman of the Papua branch of the Indonesian Independent Journalists Alliance says journalists in the region are pressured by authorities not to publish material about West Papuan pro-independence groups.

Victor Mambor, who is also the editor of the Tabloid Jubi newspaper, says it's not uncommon for media outlets in West Papua to experience regular representations by police.

He spoke to Johnny Blades about what it's like running a media outlet in West Papua.

VICTOR MAMBOR: In West Papua, the intimidation and threats still happen, but not like before 2000. So, for example, in West Papua, now for the new issue, I mean the MSG issue, no media in West Papua writes about the issue, only our newspaper.


VM: Because some of the media in West Papua, the government told them not to write about the issues.

JB: What happens if they do write about that? Do they get a visit by the police?

VM: They just have a call, and then a meeting, close meeting, to discuss with the authorities there. And actually the government and police always invite the editor-in-chief to attend a meeting with them.

JB: Have you faced harassment for reporting on OPM or police brutality, military attacks?

VM: Yeah, the harassment still happens, but it's in other ways, not like the police come and tell me, 'Don't do it'. But they invite us to the meeting and speak closely together. The harassment still happens, but not as bad. For example, my journalist was interrogated by the police when he covered for the KNPB - West Papua National Committee demonstration. And they asked, 'Why should you cover the demonstration?' Actually, they have no idea to harass, but they just threaten us. I don't know why they want to do it, but maybe they... For example, last month they came to the media office, Papua Pos, and they just take a picture there. But they have no idea why they come to the office. They just come to the office and then take a picture. It's to make the journalists in West Papua have a fear for the police and to write... Even if they have no motivation they just come and visit the office.