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Jakarta Post

Press freedom day event criticized for sidelining Papua issue

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 2, 2017   /   05:50 pm
Press freedom day event criticized for sidelining Papua issue Defiance: A Papuan activist shouts slogans during a demonstration to commemorate the West Papuan declaration of independence from Dutch rule in Jakarta on Dec. 1, 2015. The police fired tear gas to disperse more than 100 Papuan protesters during the rally. (JP/DMR)

Human rights activists have invited journalists and participants of the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) conference in Jakarta to attend a side event highlighting the lack of press freedom in restive Papua, which is not discussed in the four-day conference.

The WPFD event, held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Senayan from May 1 to May 4, is sponsored by the Indonesian government, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Indonesian Press Council (PWI).

“Human rights abuses in Papua are related to press restrictions [in Papua]. We are trying to raise awareness [about press freedom in Papua] by inviting journalists and participants of World Press Freedom Day to the side event,” Veronica Koman, a human rights lawyer and organizer of the side event, told the Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

The side event, which Veronica said was being held as a criticism against the conference, will be held on Tuesday night at Century Park Hotel, also in Senayan.

Senior Papuan journalist Victor Mambor, Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid and David Robie of New-Zealand based organization Pacific Media Watch are listed as speakers in the event held by human rights groups.

Press Council chairman Yosep "Stanley" Adi Prasetyo confirmed that the Papua issue was not included in the WPFD meeting, calling it "domestic affair." "This is an international forum. What we are discussing are the relations between Indonesian and international issues," he said. (mrc/ary)