End the violence against Papuan journalists

Jakarta – Police today attacked a journalist covering a rally organised by the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) in Manokwari in West Papua. Oktovianus Pogau, a reporter with Suara Papua and a contributor to the Yayasan Pantau, was beaten by five policemen while trying to take pictures of police use of excessive violence against the KNPB demonstrators in front of the State University of Papua, Manokwari. Pogau had displayed his press card, but some police did not stop the beating. He sustained injuries to his face.

[Bahasa Indonesia version available below]

The security forces had attempted to stop the rally but the KNPB activists went on with the demonstrations.

In Jayapura, police dispersed thousands of demonstrators using the water cannon and tear gas. In Manokwari, five people were reportedly shot but it is still not clear their conditions.

SEAPA’s executive director Gayathry Venkiteswaran said: “We deplore the aggression used against the demonstrators and especially journalists, who are on duty. Papua has been a particularly difficult and dangerous place for the media and  such kinds of abuse will further deny the rights of the people to news and information.”

She said SEAPA raised concerns about the violence against journalists in Papua and the restrictions placed on foreign journalists in its submission to the Human Rights Council on the occasion of Indonesia’s Universal Periodic Review.

“The threats of impunity, of not bringing perpetrators of violence against media personnel to justice, is a problem that has pushed back Indonesia’s gains in media freedom in the last decade or so,” she added.

In 2011, two journalists were killed in Papua, eight were kidnapped and 18 attacked. Foreign journalists are required to apply for special permits to enter and cover stories in Papua since Indonesia took over the administration of West Papua in 1963. Only three news organizations, including BBC, obtained the permits last year.

Pantau Foundation and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance condemn the attacks against the media, especially in Papua where activists, human rights defenders and journalists are frequently targeted for their work. Since October, two veteran human rights defenders, respectively from Wamena and Jayapura, have moved out of Papua due to serious threats against them.

We call on the police to:

  1. Respect the rights of citizens to freedom of expression;
  2. Ensure the safety of Oktovianus Pugao;
  3. Stop all forms of violence against journalists;
  4. Arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of violence.

We also call on the Indonesian government to:

  1. Open up Papua to international journalists and human rights monitors; and
  2. Guarantee the rights of all journalists working in West Papua  to ensure they can work free of violence, hindrance or intimidation from any members of the security forces

 

Imam Shofwan, Chairman, Pantau Foundation

Gayathry Venkiteswaran, Executive Director, SEAPA

____________________________________

 

[Bahasa Indonesia Version]

Hentikan Kekerasan Terhadap Wartawan di Papua

[Pernyataan bersama Yayasan Pantau dan SEAPA]

JAKARTA, 23 Oktober 2012 – Polisi Indonesia hari ini menyerang seorang wartawan yang meliput demonstrasi Komite Nasional Papua Barat (KNPB) di Manokwari, Papua Barat. Oktovianus Pogau, reporter Suara Papua dan kontributor Yayasan Pantau, dipukul lima polisi saat mengambil gambar kekerasan aparat keamanan Indonesia terhadap demonstran KNPB di depan Universitas Negeri Papua, Manokwari. Pogau sudah menunjukkan kartu pers namun polisi tetap memukulnya. Bibir Pogau berdarah.

Pasukan keamanan Indonesia berusaha menghentikan demo damai KNPB tapi demonstran tetap lanjutkan aksinya.

Di Jayapura, polisi membubarkan ribuan demonstran dengan meriam air dan gas airmata. Di Manokwari, lima demontran dilaporkan tertembak namun masih belum jelas dikonfirmasi.*

Direktur eksekutif SEAPA, Gayathry Venkiteswaran, mengatakan: “Kami menyesalkan agresi yang dilancarkan terhadap para demonstran dan terutama wartawan. Papua dikenal sebagai wilayah yang sangat sulit dan berbahaya bagi media. Keganasan aparat keamanan telah menyangkal hak-hak rakyat untuk mendapatkan berita dan informasi. ”

Venkiteswaran berkata SEAPA khawatir akan kekerasan terhadap jurnalis di Papua dan pembatasan akses meliput ke Papua bagi wartawan internasional, di mana isu ini juga disinggung Dewan Hak Asasi Manusia Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa pada kesempatan Universal Periodic Review untuk Indonesia.

“Ancaman impunitas, untuk tidak membawa pelaku kekerasan terhadap pekerja media ke pengadilan, adalah masalah krusial yang menjelaskan progres Indonesia dalam kebebasan media sejak dekade lalu,” katanya.

Pada 2011, dua wartawan tewas di Papua, delapan diculik dan 18 diserang. Wartawan asing perlu mengajukan permohonan izin khusus untuk masuk dan meliput berita di Papua sejak Indonesia mengambil-alih pemerintahan Papua Barat pada 1963. Hanya tiga organisasi berita, termasuk BBC, yang dapat izin meliput tahun lalu.

Yayasan Pantau dan SEAPA mengutuk serangan terhadap media, khususnya di Papua di mana para aktivis, pembela HAM dan jurnalis kerap jadi target untuk pekerjaan mereka. Sejak Oktober 2012, dua pembela hak asasi manusia kawakan, masing-masing dari Wamena dan Jayapura, keluar dari Papua karena ancaman serius terhadap mereka.

Kami menyerukan kepada polisi untuk:

  1. Menghormati kebebasan menyampaikan pendapat di Papua;
  2. Memastikan keselamatan Oktavianus Pogau;
  3. Menghentikan kekerasan terhadap wartawan; dan
  4. Menangkap dan mengadili para pelaku kekerasan.

Kami juga menyerukan kepada pemerintah Indonesia agar:

  1. Membuka akses Papua kepada wartawan dan pemantau hak asasi manusia internasional, dan
  2. Menjamin hak-hak semua wartawan yang bekerja di Papua Barat untuk memastikan mereka dapat bekerja bebas dari kekerasan, hambatan atau intimidasi dari setiap anggota pasukan keamanan Indonesia.

 

Pantau Yayasan: Imam Shofwan, Ketua

SEAPA: Gayathry Venkiteswaran, Direktur Eksekutif