Protestors in Honiara Solomon Islands show support for freedoms in West Papua.
Photo / Charles Kadamana via Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.
Tuesday, 3rd March 2015,
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
– for immediate release :
Pacific governments must not help Indonesia avoid questions over human rights abuses in West Papua, says the Pacific Freedom Forum.
"We are disappointed at reports that journalists were prevented from asking questions at recent press conferences," says PFF Titi Gabi.
Indonesian Foreign minister Retno Marsudi has visited Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji and New Zealand over the last week.
Questions were raised in island nations after media were told by local officials not to ask questions about West Papua.
"Questions about West Papua are allowed in Jakarta, so why not Port Moresby, Honiara and Suva?", asks Gabi.
Reports of an alleged ban on human rights questions at a press conference is another example of Indonesia avoiding accountability over West Papua, says PFF Chair Titi Gabi.
"This ban does nothing for Indonesian credibility within the international community, or their hosts."
PFF welcomed statements from media organisations in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea questioning the ban on questions.
PFF also welcomed questions in Australia and New Zealand comparing commitments by governments there to human rights in Iraq, but not in their own “back yard.”
PFF co-Chair Monica Miller says the bans and the double standards show a lack of respect for human rights by the six governments.
"West Papua remains the region's leading human rights issue," she says.
"Silence is not the answer."
PFF is calling on all six governments to show greater solidarity with growing concerns over human rights in West Papua.
Awareness groups around the Pacific have attracted thousands of new supporters in the last year, calling for change in West Papua, says Miller.
The ban on questions has brought renewed attention to a petition calling for the Australian government to ask its counterpart in Indonesia to lift the ban on foreign journalists visiting West Papua.
Nearly 2,600 signatures have been added to the petition.
Petition for Australia government to petition for media into West Papua
Indonesian foreign minister blocks PNG media questions on West Papua
Fiji – Indonesia talks no mention about West Papua
Solomon Islands reporters also unable to ask questions of Retno Marsudi
PNG media council queries 'no West Papua questions' directive for Indonesians
NZ MP slams government as Indonesian minister visits
Fiji reaches agreement with Jakarta as MSG bid looms
Retno Rushes to Scuttle Melanesian Recognition of Papua as ‘Occupied State’
Indonesia invited as observer at MSG meeting in July
PFF Chair Titi Gabi | GM PNG Loop | Papua New Guinea Mail: PO Box 7776, Boroko, NCD, Papua New Guinea | Mob: (675) 7314 3929 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PFF co-Chair Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa Mob (684) 258-4197 | Office (684) 633-7793 | Email: email@example.com
PFF Editor Jason Brown | Aotearoa New Zealand | Mob: +(64) 224340831 | Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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