AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch): The editor of the independent West Papua Media news service monitoring the two Indonesian-ruled provinces has called for more vigilance and better training for "safe witness" journalism.
Speaking at an AUT University seminar on Free West Papua Day following the three-day Pacific Journalism Review 2014 conference, Nick Chesterfield gave a rundown on safe witness training methods and communications to help bring the “real story” from the repressed region.
Chesterfield was also one of the presenters at the PJR2014 conference and clashed with an Indonesian journalist representing the Antara News Agency from Jakarta over the “truth” about West Papua.
The seminar was organised by the Pacific Media Centre, West Papua Media and the Asia-Pacific Human Rights Coalition (APHRC).
Chesterfield's workshop coincided with West Papuan delegates converging on Vanuatu's capital of Port Vila to try to form a unified bid to get West Papua membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The three-day Vila conference followed a march through the heart of the port city, and other events around the world marking what most West Papuans call West Papua Independence day.
On 1 December 1961, West Papuans were granted freedom by the Dutch colonial government when they raised the Morning Star, the new national flag, for the first time and sang the national anthem.
However, a year later Indonesian paratroopers invaded West Papua and by 1969 had annexed the country as a “province” after a widely condemned United Nations plebiscite.
In Fiji, as part of many global events marking Free West Papua Day, The Fiji Times reported that the Pacific Network on Globalisation organised a vigil remembering the people of West Papua while creating awareness of the organisation's "We Bleed Black and Red" campaign.
The campaign, launched in July, remembers people suffering from suppression and other injustices in West Papua.
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