Sunday, February 19, 2017

Febriana Firdaus, following in the courageous footsteps of Suaru Papua editor Pogau


The last video posted by Oktovanius Pogau on his YouTube blog before he died early last year
- a KNPB rally in Jayapura posted on 31 May 2015.

WEST PAPUAN editor Oktovianus Pogau, who died last year aged just 23, would have been proud. An inaugural award for journalism courage named in honour of him has been presented to a brave young woman, freelance journalist and blogger Febriana Firdaus, who has been covering human rights abuses in Indonesia.

This published on Asia Pacific Report from the Pantau Foundation that has made the award, who have made a point of shunning cash prizes and extras to concentrate on the recognition:

Febriana Firdaus ... winner of the inaugural Pogau Award
for journalism courage. Image: Pantau Foundation
“We want to honour our colleague, Oktovianus Pogau, a smart and courageous journalist, who edited Suara Papua newspaper and highlighted human rights reporting. He passed away at a very young age – just 23 years old. We want to honour his legacy by establishing this Oktovianus Pogau award,” said Imam Shofwan, chairman of the Pantau Foundation in a speech to a small gathering at his office.

The Pantau Foundation selected Febriana Firdaus, a Jakarta journalist, to receive the inaugural award.

Firdaus covered Indonesia’s efforts to deal with the 1965-1966 massacres, disappearances and arbitrary detentions. She also covered discrimination, intimidation, and violence against the LGBT community in Indonesia.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Colourful, vibrant Aotearoa rally condemns Trump’s ‘racist, Islamophobic’ bans


Video and images by the Pacific Media Centre’s Del Abcede. Video: Cafe Pacific on YouTube

From Asia Pacific Report

MORE than 2000 people have taken part in a colourful and vibrant  “Aotearoa Against Muslim Ban” march in New Zealand’s largest city to condemn the “racist and Islamophobic” immigration bans ordered by US President Trump.

The protest rally was held in Auckland’s Aotea Square yesterday in solidarity with those affected by President Trump’s executive orders to implement a 90-day ban on people from seven Muslim majority countries and 120 day ban on all refugees, with an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.

The Aotearoa Against Muslim Ban coalition condemned the US bans ordered by Trump.

“These border policies are racist, Islamophobic and unacceptable,” said Mehwish, one of the organisers of the “No Ban, No Wall” protest.

“They continue a pattern of white supremacist immigration exclusion in colonial settler countries like the United States. Bill English refusing to call it for what it is – racist – is a dangerously weak response and doesn’t represent the people of Aotearoa.

Friday, January 27, 2017

What now for the Tongan Democrats looking ahead to 2018?

'Atenisi Institute's Dr Michael Horowitz with two Tongan newspapers -- Koe Kele'a and Talaki -- at the seminar
at Auckland University of Technology this week. Image: Del Abcede/PMC
By Kendall Hutt of the Pacific Media Centre

THE FUTURE of Tonga’s Democracy Coalition remains uncertain as next year’s election draws closer, a Nuku’alofa-based educator has concluded in a public seminar in Auckland last night.

Dr Michael Horowitz, dean of Tonga’s ‘Atenisi Institute, told the audience at his seminar entitled Can the Democracy Coalition retain power in Tonga? the fate of the party – and with it the election due late next year — was impossible to predict.

This is largely due to the fact no survey research is conducted, continuing Tonga’s “big surprise” election-day tradition, Dr Horowitz said.

Dr Horowitz, also a visiting research scholar with Auckland University of Technology’s Pacific Media Centre, said the Democracy Coalition may just hold on to power despite a bumpy term littered with controversy.

These controversies included a petition in 2015 for Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva to surrender his education portfolio over the so-called “raw marks” policy controversy and the “cloudy issue” of state-owned Tongan Broadcasting Commission head of news Viola Ulakai’s suspension over alleged false representation, which prompted questions about Tonga’s media freedom status across the Pacific.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Honouring independent journalist and film maker Mark Worth

Mark Worth ... suspicious death in the cause of West Papuan independence. Image: NFSA video still
From Australians for a Free West Papua Darwin

ON this day we honour Australian award-winning journalist and film maker Mark Worth who died in West Papua on January 15, 2004 - suspiciously just two days after the ABC announced his documentary, Land of the Morning Star, would be screened across Australia.

Many of Mark's friends and colleagues deemed his sudden death as suspicious and many called on the Australian government for a thorough investigation.

Yet the Australian government predictably left any investigation up to the Indonesian government, which buried his body so quickly that no one was able to properly establish his cause of death, which was officially left as mere pneumonia. His death remains an unresolved issue with many.

Mark Worth's sudden death shocked Papuans and all involved in Free West Papua campaigns in West Papua, PNG, Australia and the world.

Mark Worth had worked tirelessly exposing the truth about the cruel occupation of West Papua from inside West Papua, which ultimately, many assume was the real cause of his sudden death.

Mark had "worked closely with Papuan rebels for more than 15 years, making documentaries for SBS, ABC and the Nine Network and also producing radio and print stories".

Questions remain unanswered and many have likened his suspicious death to the 1975 Balibo Five murders in East Timor.

A few days following his death, Pacific Media Watch published this report:
 SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF MARK WORTH, JOURNALIST, FILM MAKER AND CAMPAIGNER FOR JUSTIUCE FOR WEST PAPUA
Saturday, January 17, 2004 - PMW:
SENTANI (RW/Pacific Media Watch): The death of Australian print, radio and film journalist Mark Worth has shocked Papuans and all those involved in the campaign to free West Papua from brutal repression by the Indonesian military.
Mark died from unknown causes in a hotel room in Sentani, West Papua, yesterday, January 15. Mark is survived by his Papuan wife Helen and baby daughter Insoraki.

Mark was born in PNG and spent most of his life in PNG and West Papua. He spent most of the last 15 years producing radio programs, writing articles and producing documentary films about the West Papuan people and their struggle for self-determination. Mark's influential documentary films include the "Act of No Choice".

His death must be treated as suspicious when recent events in West Papua are considered, and because it came just two days after the announcement by ABC television that his latest documentary Land of the Morning Star would premier on Australian television on Monday, 2 February.

Mark described this film as his "life-time project", and he spent the best part of the last ten years researching, collecting footage and interviewing Papuans to make what will be a lasting memorial to this committed journalist.

Recent weeks have seen a major escalation in intimidation and provocation by Indonesia. In the last few days five Papuans have been sentenced to between 20 years and life for their alleged involvement in a raid on a military post in Wamena.

By contrast, the nine soldiers also involved received sentences of just 6 to 14 months. Papuans students are also being held in prison in Jakarta after a demonstration and face 20 years in jail, and seven highland leaders are being held in jail in Jayapura.

And this week infamous former police chief of East Timor, Timbul Silaen, who was charged with gross human rights violations during the 1999 East Timor atrocities, took up his post as Papuan police chief.

And on Monday, in an act that shows there is no limit to Indonesia's provocation, a small island off East Timor was bombed by the Indonesian navy.
Mark was widely believed to have been linked to the recent footage, which featured on SBS Dateline last November, of OPM leaders making appeals to the international community for help to bring about peaceful dialogue to solve the problems West Papua.

Two days after the footage was screened, 10 Papuans, including one of the leaders who featured in the film, were shot as they slept in a raid by 200 Indonesian soldiers. Their bodies were later displayed like hunting trophies.
When Mark Worth's high profile and reputation as an honest and influential journalist is considered, along with the recent events, is it any wonder that many view his death as suspicious? It is vital that Mark's death be fully and independently investigated.
When West Papua finally gains independence, Mark's contribution to that freedom will long be remembered by Papuans.

Please watch the full version of the critically acclaimed documentary Land of the Morning Star below by Mark Worth

Thank you Mark Worth for your amazing accomplishments in support of exposing the truth about the occupation of West Papua.

You will always be remembered and honoured.

We give the greatest respect to Mark Worth's family and friends.

You will never be forgotten.

Papua merdeka!!

Remembering Mark Worth - Janet Bell interview - 2005

Mark Worth - a guerrilla and a one-man band - Pacific Journalism Review profile by Ben Bohane (log in to see full text)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Florida airport massacre – few basic questions being raised


Surveillance footage of the accused guman Esteban Santiago opening fire at Fort Lauderdale Airport last Friday. Video: TMZ website

By DAVID ROBIE

JUST having missed the shootings by a US veteran at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport last Friday by less than a couple of hours after returning from a Caribbean vacation, I have been following the aftermath with intense interest.

From the safety of Little Havana in Miami, I have monitored the Spanish and English-language press (almost 60 percent of the population are Hispanic speakers) and live local television reports on the Fort Lauderdale massacre.

What has struck me most is that several key issues have barely been covered in the media soul-searching, topmost being the bizarre gun culture itself.

A professor commenting on CNN about another issue – the fate of the so-called Obamacare "universal" health law after Donald Trump is inaugurated next week – compared the US culture unflatteringly with the European citizens’ sense of “commonwealth” described his countryfolk as “still cowboys”.

This sentiment was reflected in at least one letter in the press. Writing in a letter to the editor in the Los Angeles Times, Barbara Rosen noted with irony:

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Carry on Fidel Castro’s global legacy, says Cuban ambassador


Cuban ambassador to New Zealand Mario Alzugaray during his passionate tribute to Fidel Castro
at Auckland Trades Hall tonight. Video clip: Café Pacific


By David Robie 

CUBAN revolutionary leader Fidel Castro’s contribution to global social justice and dignity, and to developing nations worldwide – including the Pacific, was praised in New Zealand tonight.

Activists, politicians, academics, journalists, teachers, trade unionists and community workers were among about 100 people gathered at the Auckland Trades Hall to hear Cuban Ambassador Mario Alzugaray and other speakers give tributes to Castro’s life.

Alzugaray challenged the audience to continue Castro’s half century of struggle for a better society: “The best way to remember Fidel is to carry on his legacy and keep it alive.”

The ambassador said Castro had social justice at the core of his ideals and action.

“He was an internationalist since the very beginning,” Alzugaray said. “He was involved in every movement connected to the anti-imperialist struggle in Latin America.”

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