A Press Council and AJI Encourage Multi-stakeholder Collaboration for Press Freedom in Papua

goodmorningpapua.com – The Press Council and the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) held a dialogue with the press community in Jayapura, Papua to promote press freedom in Papua. The joint dialogue will be held on January 29-30, 2022.

The dialogue was attended by stakeholders in Papua and in national level, namely the Press Council, AJI, PBH Pers Papua, TNI, Polri, Komnas HAM, Presidential Staff Office, Public Information Commission, Amnesty International Indonesia, Safenet, a number of media in Papua, and representatives of church networks.

This discussion is motivated by the freedom of the press in Papua which has not changed much in recent years. It can be seen from the 2021 Press Independence Index Survey conducted by the Press Council, showing that Papua and West Papua are in the bottom three positions out of 34 provinces.

Papua’s IKP score is 68.7 or 33rd position, which indicates that the freedom of the press is somewhat free, an indication of the many challenges the press has in Papua. The 2018 to 2019 IKP survey reveals that Papua is ranked 34th out of 34 provinces. Likewise for West Papua which occupies the 32nd position out of 34 provinces, with a score of 70.59.

Press freedom is a manifestation of popular sovereignty. The Press Council considers the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration so that conditions for press freedom in Papua will be better.

A member of Press Council, Asep Setiawan, explained that the Press Council has plans to increase the Press Freedom Index in Papua and the provinces which are in the bottom three in this year’s survey. Efforts to increase press freedom in Papua are a part of the recommendations for the results of the 2021 IKP survey.

“The Press Council hopes that this year there will be a number of activities being able to increase press freedom in Papua through increasing the competence of journalists, dialogue with stakeholders and strengthening the management of press companies,” explained Asep Setiawan.

Meanwhile, a member of the Press Council and Chairman of the Law and Legislation Commission, Agung Dharmajaya, emphasized that the duty of the press community in Papua is to maintain what has been going well in this region. However, there are a number of issues that need attention so that the condition of the press in Papua is getting better.

“Improving the condition of the press in Papua can be done, among others, by synergies, collaboration and communication among press stakeholders in Papua,” explained Agung Dharmajaya.

A Chairman of AJI Indonesia, Sasmito, hopes that dialogue with all stakeholders can be a good start in promoting a atmosphere of press freedom in Papua.

A number of issues have also been mapped out in this dialogue, including the rampant racism and stigma against journalists in Papua, the difficulty of foreign journalists covering Papua, and the professionalism of journalists.

“We have agreed to form a common forum as a means to fight for press freedom in Papua. The Press Council will also establish a Papuan Working Group for this purpose. This is a good start to formulate joint steps with the same goal, namely freedom of the press,” said Sasmito.

A chairman of AJI Jayapura, Lucky Ireeuw, added that realizing press freedom in Papua is not enough to only be in the interests of the press community in Papua, but should be the attention of all parties, the central and local governments, security forces, non-governmental organizations, NGOs, traditional institutions and the people of Indonesia and Papua.

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