Suara.com – The Working Group (Pokja) for the Safety of Journalists for the Land of Papua was finally formed in the Eastern Region Focus Group Discussion (FGD) activities for Mapping Journalist Safety organized by the Alliance of Independent Journalists in Jayapura City, Papua, Saturday (1/4/2022).
The formation of a Working Group between the Press Council and stakeholders is committed to realizing press freedom in the Land of Papua. The FGD for Mapping Journalist Safety raised the theme ‘Challenges to Realizing Journalist Safety and Encouraging the Formation of Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration’.
In the Journalist Safety Mapping FGD activity, AJI was supported by dozens of relevant stakeholder institutions, including the Press Council, Jakarta Press Legal Aid Institute, the IJTI Papua Journalist Safety Committee (Syndication), AMSI Papua, PWI Papua, the GKI Synod in Tanah Papua, the Papua Regional Police, Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights for the Papua Region and the Papua Land Press Legal Aid Association.
Other institutions involved are the Democracy Alliance for Papua, the Sorong Raya Archipelago Indigenous Peoples Alliance, the Secretariat for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Papuan Franciscan Creation and the Association for Defenders of the Archipelago’s Indigenous Peoples.
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The activity which was held at 10.00 WIT at the Horison Jayapura hotel was attended by 32 people. This activity began with the delivery of material from a number of sources and discussions regarding the condition of journalists in Papua and efforts to realize press freedom and journalist safety.
Chairman of AJI Indonesia Sasmito Madrim became the inaugural speaker who explained the condition of press freedom in eastern Indonesia. Meanwhile, Ahmad Fathanah from LBH Pers Jakarta delivered materials on efforts and strategies to deal with the situation and problems of press freedom and journalist violence in the Land of Papua.
Violence Against Papuan Journalists
From AJI Jayapura data, there have been 11 cases of violence against journalists in Tanah Papua from 2021 to March 2023. The most recent case of violence this year occurred on March 13 in Sorong City, Southwest Papua.
The mob intimidated the Teropong News Editor to stop reporting on illegal logging in Sorong District. If the threat is not carried out, journalists in the online media will be killed and their offices burned by the mob.
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In addition, there were still disruptions to the telecommunications network in Jayapura City to Jayapura Regency on March 9 2022. Based on Telkom Papua data, the disturbances occurred at 08.15 until they were fully normal at 15.00 WIT.
This problem has occurred many times and has had a serious impact on community activities, especially the press in the Land of Papua. From AJI Jayapura’s records, there have been seven disruptions to telecommunications networks between 2015 and 2023.
The importance of the Journalist Safety Working Group
Deputy Chair of the Press Council’s Law and Legislation Commission, Asep Setiawan appeared as the last speaker conveying the importance of efforts to form a Pokja, a media center and a joint agenda related to efforts to strengthen press freedom and protect the safety of journalists in the Land of Papua.
At the end of the activity at around 16.00 WIT, all activity participants agreed to form a Papua Land Journalist Safety Working Group and a Papua Land Journalist Safety Working Group Media Center. This agreement was marked by a joint signing by the activity participants.
According to Deputy Chairperson of the Law and Legislation Commission of the Press Council, Asep Setiawan, the existence of a Journalist Safety Working Group in the Land of Papua, further emphasizes and strengthens efforts to safeguard the safety of the press. The goal is for journalists to carry out their duties in the context of building independence and democracy in Indonesia.
“The Press Council hopes that there will be no more elements that disturb journalists while carrying out their duties.
This is because journalists are protected by law in carrying out their duties,” said Asep.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of AJI Indonesia Sasmito Madrim said AJI welcomed the existence of a very good breakthrough, namely the declaration of the Papua Land Journalist Safety Working Group. This declaration consists of representatives of press organizations, indigenous peoples, the Press Council of religious leaders, and law enforcement officials.
The same thing was conveyed by the Chairman of AJI Jayapura Lucky Ireeuw. According to Lucky, the safety of journalists in Tanah Papua is not only the responsibility of the media company where a journalist works but all parties involved.
“Synergies between multi-stakeholders are needed. Therefore, AJI recommends the Working Group for Safety of Journalists in Tanah Papua which aims to protect and resolve problems experienced by journalists,” said Lucky.
The Chairperson of the Indonesian Cyber Media Association (AMSI) Papua, Eveerth Joumilena with the presence of the Papua Land Journalist Safety Working Group has further motivated journalists to carry out their duties and minimize the threats faced by journalists.
Meanwhile, IJTI Papua Chairman Meirto Tangkepayung appreciated the birth of the Papua Land Journalist Safety Working Group.
“This Working Group is a forum for every press organization in Tanah Papua to synergize with each other to fight for press freedom and the safety of journalists in conveying information to the public,” said Meirto.