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24 September 2013

AUDIO: West Papua Freedom Flotilla wrap-up on Auckland’s 95bFM

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Auckland radio station 95bFM interviewed contributing editor of Pacific Media Watch Daniel Drageset about the West Papua Freedom Flotilla.

AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch): The West Papua Freedom Flotilla’s dramatic journey was recently featured on Auckland radio station 95bFM’s The Wire programme.

Host of the show Gary Farrow called it an “incredible trip to make” when he interviewed contributing editor of Pacific Media Watch Daniel Drageset.

The flotilla gathered a range of pro-West Papua campaigners on the long journey from Lake Eyre in northern South Australia to Brisbane and along the Queensland coast, across the Torres Strait to Daru in Papua New Guinea and finally an attempt to reach Merauke in West Papua.

Its mission was to raise awareness of ongoing human rights issues in the Indonesian-ruled region, and rekindle old bonds between the Aboriginal people of Australia and indigenous West Papuans. 

The flotilla flagship, The Pog, made unsuccessful attempts in contacting the Indonesian military in order to be allowed entry to Merauke.

Because Indonesian authorities previously had stated it would “take measures” against the flotilla, The Pog decided to turn back only a short distance from West Papua.

The Freedom Flotilla did, however, manage to hold a cultural ceremony with West Papuans after two tiny boats evaded the Indonesian military and met West Papuan leaders close to the Indonesian-Australian border.

The flotilla therefore deemed its journey a success. The biggest success, however, might have been the media exposure the flotilla received, Drageset explained.

“The flotilla has managed to highlight the brutality of the Indonesian rule in West Papua, especially evident in the Australian media.

“Here in New Zealand, I don’t think the media has followed this story as closely as they should,” Drageset said.

Listen to the full interview with Daniel Drageset

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Pacific Media Watch

PMC's media monitoring service

Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators. (cc) Creative Commons