West Papua film exposes plight of ‘ignored’ local journalists

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A still from Aprila.

By RNZ Pacific

A short documentary which highlights the risks of being a journalist in Indonesian-ruled Papua region (West Papua) has won an international film award.

Aprila, directed by Rohan Radheya, took out the best short film award at the 16th Pacific FIFO Documentary Film Festival in French Polynesia.

The Dutch journalist and film-maker’s documentary tells the story of a young local journalist who stopped doing her job after receiving death threats.

READ MORE: FIFO 2019 – the winners

According to FIFO’s website, audience members in Tahiti expressed interest in the insight the film offered into a region and freedom struggle largely unknown to the world.

Radheya said while international attention on Papua often focused on restrictions that Jakarta placed on access for foreign journalists, the plight of local journalists was ignored.

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“What we endure as foreign journalists is nothing compared to what local indigenous journalists in Papua are facing,” he said.

Papuan journalist turned novelist Aprila Waya, the main character in the documentary, said on Facebook: “This is a new thing for me where the process of making this film (more than three years) has taken more energy than writing a novel.

“Anyway, this is not my victory – it’s the victory of all the Papua people.”

This article is republished under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.

#journalismisnotacrime

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