23 Sep 2014

NZ rally calls for release of journos in West Papua

8:28 pm on 23 September 2014

A rally was held today outside New Zealand's parliament to call for media freedom in West Papua and the release of two French journalists detained in Indonesia's remote eastern region.

Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois were arrested on the 6th of August in Wamena, and remain detained in Jayapura by Indonesian police, accused of violating their visas.

Police have indicated the pair could face a prison sentence for subversion amid allegations they were involved with pro-independence activists.

However there have been ongoing calls by international rights and media groups for Indonesia to release the pair.

NZ University students call for media freedom in West Papua

NZ University students call for media freedom in West Papua Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

One of the speaker's at today's rally in Wellington, Pacific Studies academic Dr Teresia Teaiwa, says it's imperative that journalists be allowed in to report on the situation in Papua region.

"For today, we're concerned about the two French journalists and the one West Papuan (who was arrested after allegedly meeting with them) whose own freedom, not just the freedom to report, but their freedom, has been curtailed."

Dr Teresia Teaiwa