Papuan journalist Victor Mambor wins Udin Award for ‘dedicated journalism’

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Papuan journalist and editor Victor Mambor
Papuan journalist and editor Victor Mambor ... often harassed with digital violence, threats and the destruction of personal property. Image: West Papua Daily

Pacific Media Watch newsdesk

The co-founder of Tabloid Jubi, Victor Mambor has been presented with the 2022 Udin Award from Indonesia’s Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) during the organisation’s 28th-anniversary celebration.

Mambor is an indigenous Papuan journalist who has dedicated his life for decades to the field of journalism.

The Udin Award — presented last month — is AJI’s annual prize to promote press freedom and freedom of expression in Indonesia.

Through it, AJI seeks to recognise journalists (individuals and groups), who are dedicated to the field of journalism, and become victims of physical or psychological violence because of their journalistic activities.

Mambor, who is also a former chair of AJI Jayapura, is often reported as the leader and planner of public demonstrations against the government, although there is no evidence for the accusations.

In addition, Mambor has also often experienced digital violence and the destruction of personal property.

Last year, for example, Mambor’s vehicle was deliberately damaged by an unknown person. Prior to that, his social media was also doxed, and his personal data was exposed.

Laying the foundations
Even so, Victor Mambor and Jubi continue to lay the foundations and principles of journalism in their journalistic works.

“This award certainly reminds us again that intimidation, criminalisation, physical, verbal and digital violence against journalists like what was experienced by Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin (Udin), the owner of this award, still exists today and we are still fighting for a free press,” Mambor said after receiving the award last month.

The UN Human Rights Council in September 2021 called him a humanitarian and a rights activist who faced threats, harassment and intimidation for his reporting on West Papua, including reporting to UN human rights mechanisms, and for attending UN meetings for which they were questioned by security forces.

His name was raised among other human rights defenders in the Indonesia section of the report published by the UN. The report contains references to five cases of criminalisation and intimidation against human rights defenders working in or about West Papua

The Udin Award was taken from the pen name of the journalist for the Bernas Daily, Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin, who died on 16 August 1996 in Yogyakarta after being attacked by two unknown assailants.

Udin was persecuted and intimidated because of the news he wrote on 13 August 1996. To date, the case has not been thoroughly investigated and his killer was not identified.

Indonesian police question Victor Mambor
Indonesian police question Victor Mambor during an investigation. Image: AJI

Seven nominations
In 2022, AJI received seven nominations for the Udin Award. The proposals were assessed by a jury of three members.

One jury member, Bambang Muryanto, said that it was not easy for a journalist to maintain his professionalism and independence in an area of ​​armed conflict.

Especially when the situation in the area was similar to martial law without official government recognition.

“The safety of himself and his family is at stake. The very difficult location conditions are also a challenge to present comprehensive news that does not violate journalistic ethics,” said Bambang.

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