PFF – Rarotonga - Indonesian authorities in Jakarta should immediately instruct their security forces in West Papua to release a radio host, says the Pacific Freedom Forum.
"Each day of arrest for this journalist lessens credibility of Jakarta over such a minor matter", says PFF Chair Titi Gabi.
"Arrest of the talkback host speaks to the weaknesses of Indonesian authority, not their strengths."
Abert Dimas Anggoro was arrested by Indonesian police after hosting a talkback show that expressed criticism of an Indonesian official in West Papua.
According to Kabar Berita online, Dimas was arrested after claiming in a public affairs programme, Matoa, that a district office was "dilapidated"
Dimas works for Penyiar Radio FM.
Colleagues from AJI, an alliance of Independent journalists, and a representative body for local media reporters, Papua New Light, accompanied Anggoro to the Sanggeng police station.
AJI coordinator in Jayapura Wally Jack was quoted as calling on Indonesian authorities to settle the matter using existing press laws, rather than arrest.
Jack quoted Law No. 40 on the Press, chapter 1 clause 11, where if a person or group feels aggrieved over a news item then used the existing complaints procedure.
Arrest of Dimas comes against a background of protests marking 50 years of Indonesian annexation, with three shot dead by security forces and a fourth dying in hospital.
An unknown number were injured in shootings by security forces across West Papua, with thousands reported to have joined protests in five different towns.
PFF co-Chair Monica Miller praised AJI and PNL representatives for standing by the radio host and bearing witness to abuse of powers by security forces.
“There can be no legitimate reason for the arrest of a journalist conducting a normal radio talkback show with routine questions, airing standard concerns,” says Miller.
“In doing so, the journalist, his station and their listeners are exercising citizen rights under the constitution of Indonesia guaranteeing freedoms of speech.”
Miller says that the arrest is one among myriad concerns facing Indonesia and decades of reports detailing arbitrary and illegal arrests, beatings, torture, rape and killings conducted mainly by security forces and Indonesian militia forces.
“PFF calls on Jakarta to rein in its attack dogs and end a culture of impunity running rampant in West Papua, at a huge cost in human life and misery.”
News of the arrest has been carried by dozens of outlets globally.
However, no news has been heard since the arrest over three weeks ago, raising deep concerns for the safety of the Penyiar FM journalist and his associates.
WEST PAPUA: Police arrest radio reporter over broadcast allegations
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PFF Chair Titi Gabi | Freelance Journalist | Papua New Guinea | +67573143929 | firstname.lastname@example.org
PFF co-Chair Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa | + 6842584197 | email@example.com
PFF coordinator Jason Brown | Pasifika media | Vaitele, Samoa | +6857604412 | firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT PFF :
The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media. We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance. In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.