Thursday, May 11, 2017

An Indonesian oasis of progressive creativity emerges in culture city


Dr Max Lane, pictured here with Faiza Mardzoeki, talks about his project to establish a community and activist library for the student city of Yogyakarta in Indonesia. Video: Café Pacific

By David Robie in Yogyakarta

A VISION for a progressive activists, writers and researchers retreat in the lush outskirts of Indonesia’s most cultural city, Yogyakarta, is close to becoming reality.

Unfinished Nation ... one of Dr Max Lane's
many books.
The Indonesian Community and Activists Library (ICAL) is already an impressive “shell” in the front garden of Australian author and socio-political analyst, intellectual and consultant Max Lane, arguably the most knowledgeable English-language writer on Indonesian affairs.

Dr Lane, who has been writing and commenting about cultural and political developments in Indonesia, Philippines, Timor-Leste and his homeland since the 1970s, is delighted that completing the centre is so close.

“We have almost completed this building, the library, which will have a reading room, an office, and also some accommodation for those who would like to stay for a few days, or even longer to use the library,” he says, gesturing towards the empty rooms at the complex in the rice-producing and tourist village of Ngepas.

“The library will have about 4000 to 5000 books in the field of social sciences, humanities, history, feminism and so on.”

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rave hospitality, but Indonesia fails West Papua with media freedom hypocrisy


Al Jazeera's coverage by Step Vaessen of the Papuan protest at WPFD2017 in Jakarta.

By David Robie in Jakarta 


INDONESIAN hospitality was given a rave notice this week for hosting World Press Freedom Day 2017, but it was also given a huge black mark for its “gagging” of free discussion over West Papua violations. 

Four days before the WPFD event got under way, prominent Papuan journalist Victor Mambor had warned in the New Internationalist that Indonesian double standards had imposed a silence over West Papua.

Even a Papuan protest outside the Jakarta Conference Centre venue was kept at the margins, ensuring most of the 1300 journalists, media academics and communication policy makers from 90 countries were unaware of the shocking press and human rights violations that continue almost daily in the Melanesian provinces of Papua and West Papua (collectively known as West Papua).

Al Jazeera broadcast the most comprehensive television report from its Jakarta bureau on media freedom and West Papua with both Titro.id website and The Jakarta Post also carrying reports.

But for the rest, mostly silence.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Activists, media freedom advocates plan ‘global action’ for West Papua

"Gagged" West Papua. Instagram montage by tuckwolf_
By Pacific Media Watch

MEDIA freedom advocates and human rights activists are planning a “global action” for West Papua with demonstrations marking UNESCO world press freedom day events in Jakarta next week.

The advocates want to focus global attention on the “media blackout” long imposed by Indonesian authorities, in spite of promises to open up access to the two Melanesian provinces of Papua and West Papua adjoining independent Papua New Guinea.

The global action will begin on May 1 and run for three days climaxing with World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

Prominent UK-based West Papuan lawyer and civil rights campaigner Benny Wenda will then pay a visit to New Zealand the following week to raise awareness.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Latest West Papua journalist blacklisting another serious violation by Indonesia


French journalist Cyril Payen is still barred from entering Indonesia following his 2015 documentary film, Indonésie : la guerre oubliée des Papous (The Forgotten War in Papua).

Analysis by Tempo in Pacific Media Watch

THE blacklisting of Jack Hewson, a freelance journalist working for Al Jazeera, shows the Indonesian government’s paranoia towards foreign journalists.

The government should allow the foreign press to cover Papua. Preventing journalists from reporting the facts there is not a good testament on the claim of press freedom in Indonesia.

Hewson, who is based in Jakarta, planned to report on the Freeport issue from Timika in Papua. But after leaving for the Philippines last week, he learned that he has been banned from returning to Indonesia for no clear reason.

It transpires that the request for the ban came from the Indonesian Military (TNI).

According to the Immigration Directorate General, Hewson is suspected of “dangerous activities, endangering security and public order”.

Friday, April 7, 2017

LIVE: CAFCA’s Murray Horton on NZ independence and foreign policy

Graphic: Concept art for Planet of the Apes

Courtesy of the Pacific Media Centre and Asia Pacific Report

 

TIME FOR INDEPENDENCE FROM A CRUMBLING US EMPIRE - Murray Horton
The advent of President Donald Trump in the US provides an unprecedented opportunity to take a good, hard look at Aotearoa's place in the world.  And to ask the question - why are we still a loyal member of the American Empire?

As the old saying goes, you are judged by the company you keep.

CAFCA Murray Horton says it's time for this country to pull the plug, to finish the business started in the 1980s, which saw us out of ANZUS, and break the chains -- military, intelligence, economic and cultural -- that continue to bind us to the American Empire.

Speaker: Murray Horton, national organiser of the Christchurch-based Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA). Video in two parts.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Grief, repression, life and death in West Papua’s Highlands

Bonnie Etherington reading from her new book The Earth Cries Out at the Women's Bookshop in Ponsonby,
Auckland, this week. Photo: Del Abcede
THE Auckland launch of Bonnie Etherington’s thrilling debut novel, The Earth Cries Out, on grief, repression and life in another world -- the Highlands of West Papua -- this week was intriguing.

Along with the usual literati at events like this, were the human rights activists with “Free West Papua” emblazoned on their chests and the media freedom advocates intent on exposing the constant gags imposed on the West Papuans by the Indonesian military killing machine in defiance of an empty “open door” policy proclaimed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in 2015.

The “Free West Papua” movement, fuelled by inspired and continuous social media exposes and debate, has been growing exponentially in recent years.

But you wouldn’t know that if you merely relied on the parochial New Zealand media, which doesn’t seem to have woken up to the human rights catastrophe happening on its Pacific doorstep. (Instead, global news services such as Al Jazeera English, or local services such as Asia Pacific Report and Radio NZ International are having to do the job for them).

Speaking at the Women’s Bookshop in deepest Ponsonby – a world away from the mountain jungle near Wamena in West Papua, Nelson-born Etherington gave three readings from her book, which she says is aimed at a more nuanced understanding of West Papua, one of them a chilling rendition of the fate of a woman accused and slain as an alleged “witch”.

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