Pacific Media Watch

4 August 2010

WEST PAPUA: Government urged to adopt law to protect journalists

Hero image
Papua adivists rallying for self-determination and independence. Photo: TSG
Anti-corruption agency calls for investigation

6953 JAYAPURA: The death of Ardiansyah, known to his friends as Ardhi, 31 years old, whose badly wounded body was discovered on the banks of Maro River, is deeply disturbing and is seen as a threat to other media workers and civil society activists.

The Regional Representative Council - DPD - and the Anti-Corruption Institute, has called on the Indonesian government to immediately adopt  a law guaranteeing protection for activists and media workers and called on the security forces to investigate this case, to find out who was behind this murder of the Merauke TV journalist.

Saly Maskat, speaking on behalf of the institute, said that democracy in Papua was now dead because  there was no guarantee of safety for journalists  who were seeking the truth.

It is ironic that  shortly before his death, Ardhi and several of his  colleagues had received SMS death threats.

The government has for too long delayed adopting a law providing protection for activists and media workers. Only recently, an ICW activist  was beaten up by unknown persons while carrying out an investigation into several cases involving government officials.

Saly said that colleagues  have frequently been threatened by unknown persons while investigating cases concerning Papuan officials similar to the cases in Merauke.

Such incidents, which have also occurred in Bali, have had a serious impact on our activities, he said, as well as on our organisation.

People feel constrained about continuing with their activities in the media if there are no legally guaranteed safeguards from the government.

He also called on the police to thoroughly investigate these incidents and find out who was behind the ghastly murder of the journalist. 'This is essential to provide  journalists with a sense of security in the pursuit of their journalistic activities.'

The chairman of the Papua branch of the journalists organisation, PWI, has also called for the murder of the journalist in Papua to be thoroughly investigated. - Bintang Papua/Pacific Media Watch

* See PMW items 6936, 6943, 6952

Abridged in translation by TAPOL.

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