Pacific Media Watch

2 August 2010

WEST PAPUA: AIJ links second journalist death to food estate controversy

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Merauke food estate linked with journalist's death

6943 JAKARTA: A second journalist death reported today in West Papua (30/7) - four days after a senior journalist with Indonesia's major paper Kompas was found dead at the beginning of the week - has sparked another reaction from the Alliance of Independent Journalists.

Ardiansyah, a reporter who is listed with a local tabloid called Jubi, was found dead today on Gudang Arang River in Merauke, a regency in the southern tip of Papua province, 670 km south of Jayapura.

His body was found floating naked on the water early in the day, two days after he had been reported as having disappeared and was  
reportedly buried this afternoon at a local cemetery.

The Jayapura chapter of the Alliance of Independent Journalists linked the death with the regional election involving a conflict fueled by a giant food estate project in the regency which has drawn huge investors, among others, from the Middle East and Asia.

"Based on the record there were at least four journalists terrorised through text messages or phone calls. The Merauke Food Estate has made the competition for regional chief unhealthy," Victor Mambor, chairman of the local branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists told Tempo in a telephone interview.

The regional election committee is now at the stage of verifying the contenders for the regent of Merauke and election is expected next month or in September.

Mambor said what was behind the death should be uncovered.

The Legal Aid Press, an affiliate of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, based in Jakarta, also released a statement urging the police to investigate the death.

Merauke police said there were no abusive marks found on Ardiansyah's body and that they were sending the autopsy report to the police forensic lab in Makassar.

This is the second journalist death reported in five days after the death report of a bureau chief with Kompas in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan who is known for his environmental reports, on Monday (26/7). Ardiansyah had previously worked for national private TV channel ANTV and local Merauke TV. - Tempo Interactive/Pacific Media Watch

* See item 6936


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