An example of a documentary video made by a partner group of West Papua Media, AwasMIFEE. Since joining Indonesia officially in 1969, there were only seven oil palm companies in Papua until 2005. But in 2014 the number jumped to 21 companies, with another 20 companies gearing up to start operations. This documentary, Mahuzes, is part of the Ekspedisi Indonesia Biru series, and tells of the now threatened life for a Papuan hunter and gatherer community.
By West Papua Media
For the first time in a decade, West Papua Media has been taking a break from regular publication to focus on improving our infrastructure, and work on several innovative new projects that will support credible, quality journalism on the ground in West Papua.
We feel without a current sustainable funding base and savings in the bank, we are unable to ethically provide the correct amount of support currently needed for our brave clandestine stringers and journalists to expose themselves in the field at this point.
We are working hard to create the mechanisms so that they are armed always with real time digital security and support when they do venture into the field, and are able to report safely.
These mechanisms we are working hard to develop so that anyone who needs to tell a story of their world – in Papua to begin with – is able to do so, and have their voice heard, and treated with respect.
Currently the amount of fake media, recycled
and out of context torture photos and misreporting is creating a situation where social media is now dismissed by the powerful around the world as rumour and propaganda.
The work we are currently doing is supporting the capacity of West Papuan people inside West Papua to get their own voices heard with the stories they want to tell. Not the stories that outsiders want told for their own clickbait donation agendas, or misreported, or not told full stop.
We want to be able to support every rally, every campaign, and to be able to tell every story West Papuans want to tell the the world, especially of those sectors of the population that don’t get a voice currently.
Bypassing media ban
We will of course continue to assist foreign journalists to bypass the media ban in West Papua by assisting with SAFE organisation and fixing for undercover stories.
However, our main focus is to continue our pioneering work of the last ten years ensure that Jakarta’s foreign media ban is redundant, through the effective and strong real time multimedia reporting capacity of indigenous Papuan journalists being supported.
So our current work is focused on organising West Papua Media’s back archives, our digital media assets, and also restructuring our project to deliver a more robust, intuitive and involving website, with the ability for people on the ground to collaborate with us, safely, with their identities and locations safe.
We have been creating an innovative new digital asset library, with new technologies of verification and safe asset tracking (that will not put the creator’s security at risk) that will ensure that any creative content, whether photos, videos, or any content and artwork provided to us, will be able to be tracked across the internet, and to enable licensing that will mean money will flow back to the creators so they can sustain their work (and get new equipment etc), or to enable training and supply to new witness journalists to operate effectively and safely.
We really need your generous financial support to enable this to be reborn in early 2017.
Until then, our work includes rewriting and translating for our side project “eyeSAFEMoJO – the Safe Witnesss Journalism Project“, which can be found at isafemojo.press, with tasks including:
- a list of SAFEApps for enabling journalists and human rights workers on the ground in Papua to collect information safely using mobile tools, without threat of state surveillance and threats by using these unsafe apps and social media; and
- A new Safe Witness Journalism Guide, with graphical how-to’s and updated tactics specific to West Papua with lessons learnt from the last few years of changes in the media environment.