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Different treatment from Indonesian officials for indigenous journalists in West Papua

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Illustrated

Jayapura, Jubi – Indonesia has less than three months to deliver “full and free” press access to Papua provinces, says PFF, the Pacific Freedom Forum.

“Jakarta risks global condemnation if it continues to ignore the facts,” warns PFF Chair Monica Miller. ”

A visit last month by media freedom campaigners proves that access for Papua press is still far from full and free”, she says.

Violence, Bullying, Sexual Harassment

An eight person delegation from MFCI, the Media Freedom Committee Indonesia, visited the Papua towns of Jayapura, Merauke and Timika, between 29 January to 3 February 2017. Their reported findings include :
– Ten cases of violence against journalists that are still not resolved. – Only 16 foreign press were given permits to visit Papua last year, with 11 forced to accept government guides.
– Different treatment from Indonesian officials for indigenous journalists versus Indonesian journalists – such as stigmatisation and intimidation of “OAP” – ‘original Papua persons’.
– Local press still need police permits to cover public gatherings, including protests.
– Women journalists routinely suffer bullying and sexual harassment from government sources, but rarely report it to police because they “take it for granted.”
– In an atmosphere of surveillance, intimidation and harassment, media outlets find it impossible to recruit new reporters. One training session for newcomers saw 30 people on the first day, 12 the second day and none the third.
– Business models threaten independence of Papua media, including in Timika, where ad revenues are sourced from Freeport mine, its subsidiaries and local government.
– Threats against independence include pressure from “certain parties” on mass media not to cover environmental issues.
– Isolation from other media due to a lack of access to communications resources causes ethical lapses.
Supported by WAN-IFRA, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, under its Strengthening Media and Society programme, the MFCI visit was also backed by the Denmark ministry of Foreign Affairs. PFF welcomes the input from WAN-IFRA, and praises the leadership role played by Denmark.
“Other diplomatic partners in Jakarta need to do much more to support press freedom,” says Miller.

Shameful
“Their continued silence on abuses against the press and other human rights compares shamefully with billions in profit being made from Papua by outside interests.”
Findings from the MFCI visit join recent wide concern expressed about Indonesia blocking access to 800,000 websites. Among blocked sites is SuaraPapua – the Voice of Papua – a news outlet exposing human rights abuses.

Voice for the voiceless
PFF praises LBH Pers, the Legal Aid Institute for the Press, for representing SuaraPapua as a “voice for voiceless.” Last year, PFF laid down a deadline for open access to Papua, in the lead up to Indonesia hosting World Press Freedom Day on 3rd May 2017. The deadline was reportedly rejected by a minor official at the Indonesian embassy in Wellington, New Zealand.

Think Carefully
However, PFF has not been able to get confirmation of the alleged rejection from Jakarta.

“Instead of speeding up preparations for World Press Freedom Day, Jakarta appears to be slowing down”, says Miller.

“Make no mistake, Jakarta needs to think very, very carefully about its continued failure to fulfil its own promises, its own guarantees for media freedom under the Indonesian constitution, and its signature to many international treaties.”

Ahead of #WPFD2017, PFF is calling on journalists everywhere to focus attention on one of the world’s least reported areas.

“This year, global journalists must all prove themselves wantoks of the Papua press”, she says. Indonesia improved eight places between 2015 and 2016 on the RSF, Reporters Sans Frontiers World Press Freedom Index, at 130 of 180 countries, but is still coded red for a generally “bad” situation. (*)

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The story of illegal logging from the forests of Papua

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Illegal timbers – an illustration. -Tempo.co

Jayapura, Jubi – Tempo journalist Avit Hidayat shared his experience in doing an investigation about the circulation of illegal timbers from Papua’s forest as a resource person for the discussion about “ Papua’s Forest and Logging Disputes”.

Auriga Nusantara, Eyes on the Forest, Tempo Institute, Free Press Unlimited, and Tempo Media Grup held this forum in Jakarta, Monday, 28 January 2019 and attended by other resource persons, such as Laode M. Syarif (KPK commissionaire), Rasio Ridho Sani (Gakkum-KLHK), Hilman Nugroho (PHPL-KLHK) Muhamad Kosar (JPIK), Timotius Murib (Majelis Rakyat Papua) and Papuan stakeholders from indigenous peoples, Papuan Parliament and Papua Provincial Forestry Office.

In the discussion, Avit said it is essential for the public to know about the situation in Papua. “The tropical forests in Papua are the last (forests) in Indonesia, while the Merbau wood which is the Papuan endemic trees have been becoming the target of the international market,” he said. 

Furthermore, Avid said he conducted the investigation in many different places and interviewed many resource persons; and in Papua, the Tempo team went further to the logging sites. There, they witnessed how the workers who come from other regions carried out the illegal logging activity. They also met transporters, woodmasters, drivers, and logging company staffs.

“And the most important thing is we met the supplier. The supplier is a mediator of the logging companies who play a role to bargain with ‘ondo’—the tribal chief–for compensation. For example, if in a village there are common indigenous lands, the supplier comes to measuring the areas, and give payment to indigenous peoples.”

In their investigation, the Tempo team also met the owners of a logging company who later admitted about the illegal logging activity.  However, they called it the unregistered community logging.

Meanwhile, in Aroba Sub-district of Teluk Bintuni, Papua Barat, the team went to the forest areas of the company who received the Business License for the Utilization of Natural Forest and Timber Product (IUPHHK-HA) that formerly known as a Forest Concession Permit (HPH). There, the team found the manipulation of a wood barcode. For instance, the barcode for ketapang wood is used for Merbau wood.

Moreover, the team also investigated the primary industry in Papua, Surabaya, Lumajang, Gresik by tracing the distribution of logs. Here, they found another finding, namely the fake transport data and officials’ involvement, whereas the illegal retribution practice has also become their another concern.

In their journey from Sarmi to Jayapura Municipality, the team discovered 25 retribution posts that consist of the indigenous institution, police (military) and Forestry Office. “This is the fact that we found, but I couldn’t capture it because it was too risky. We even witness a military truck used to transport the logs.”

Furthermore, the Tempo team met the export logging companies and found those companies able to export up to 6,000-meter cubic annually, while based on the Forest Product Information Management System (SIPUH), they only allowed to export around 100-meter cubic.

“In Surabaya, we went to a barge and talked with an officer. He said not all logs are given barcode. A few logging companies intentionally inserted non-barcode logs or illegal logs in there. They are mostly the HPH holders, and they even put the timbers between the logs.”

However, all these findings did not include in the audit industry report registered in the Timber Legality and Verification System Legality and Verification System (SVLK) which consist of the Assessment Agency for Sustainable Forest Production Management (LP-PHPL) and Timber Verification Agency (LV-LK). Both agencies are responsible for assessing the sustainable forest product management and verify the legality aspect of timber based on the system and standards set by the government.

“We also got the information about the involvement of LV-LK and LP-PHPL, which means they play around with such companies and culprits from the forestry office. I think the KPK has identified these cases.”

In the meantime, a resource person from the National Accreditation Committee (KAN) acknowledged that there were bribery practices in the LV-LK. The audit report had often finished before the field assessment.

Meanwhile, the participants appreciated the findings of Tempo’s investigation. They expected the government to find a solution immediately, whether it’s a regulation or supervision and law enforcement.

On the other hand, a representative of LV-LK objected this report regarding the bribery practices in his institution. But Avit said until now none of the resource persons withdrew their statements and opposed the result of the team’s investigation.

Meanwhile, Agung Wijaya, Avit’s editor for this covered story, said he was worried about Avit’s safety during the investigation. But finally, this report was completed and published.

He further said Tempo had traced the case of illegal logging since 2017. Thus, publishing the investigation report becomes a moral burden for Tempo. Therefore Tempo will continue to monitor this issue and welcome other stakeholders who attended this forum for further discussion.

Through this coverage, Tempo attempted to look the case thoroughly even though it might not give a solution because the solution is actually in the hand of all of you (who come to this forum).” (*)

 

Reporter: Timoteus Marten

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Indonesian military to complete Trans-Papua Highway

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Indonesian soldiers participate in a major military jungle warfare exercise in Poso, in central Sulawesi island, on March 31, 2015. -Photo: AFP

Papua, Jubi – Officials working on a troubled road project in Papua say Indonesia’s military will complete the job this year.

In December, at least 16 Indonesians working on the Trans-Papua Highway in Nduga province were massacred by fighters from the West Papua Liberation Army.

The project was put on hold with the military saying it would take over work on the 4000 kilometre highway.

Combat engineers will reportedly carry out the construction, with hundreds of extra security personnel deployed to the area.

Detik News reports a military battalion has been assigned to the building of the project’s remaining 16 bridges.

Indonesian army engineers had already been working on the Trans-Papua Highway project for a number of years.

Military involvement in the project was cited by the Liberation Army as a central reason for killing the road workers, who were suspected of being soldiers. (*)

 

Source: Radionz.co.nz

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Indonesian soldier dead after attack at Papua airport

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Members of the Indonesian Army in Papua. -Photo: AFP

Papua, Jubi – Indonesia’s military has evacuated the body of a soldier killed at an airport in Papua’s Highlands on Monday.

Xinhua reported that gunmen shot at an arriving aircraft carrying soldiers at Mapenduma airport of Nduga district, leaving one soldier dead.

Military spokesman Colonel Muhammad Aidi said when the plane was about to land, it was shot at, and soldiers who were guarding the airport shot back, triggering gunfire exchange.

He said the gunmen retreated and escaped to the forest and the plane landed.

Tempo reported that two soldiers were shot, and hospitalised, with one dying later.

The soldier’s body has been evacuated to Papua’s provincial capital Jayapura,

He is the latest apparent victim in the Highlands conflict between guerilla forces of the West Papua Liberation Army and Indonesian security forces that intensified last year. (*)

 

Source: Radionz.co.nz

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