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Benny Wenda’s moving speech in #FactsandHeart Community Share Offer launch

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Benny Wenda (right) with The New Internationalist staff at the launch event – Supplied

Reported byAlessio Peronne

Very powerful vested interests are trying to change the axis of what we consider to be true and fair and threatening the future of independent media.  This was the core message delivered by Peter Adamson, one of the original co-founders of New Internationalist magazine in 1973, on Monday, 6 March.

At the Modern Art Oxford, he was one of the speakers at the official launch event of New Internationalist’s Community Share Offer (CSO).

After 44 years of independent journalism, New Internationalist has decided to open up its ownership, calling readers and supporters all over the world to ʻBuy into a Better Storyʼ and become co-owners in a £500,000 crowdfunding campaign.

Just before the event started, the campaign had already reached 440 investors and passed the 25-per-cent mark – just five days after going live on Crowdfunder.

The event attracted young and not-so-young readers, supporters and friends who had travelled from as far afield as Dundee to Oxford. Peter Adamson started off warning against the lack of plurality in the media landscape.

ʻWe often have the impression that the individual can do little [to change the media landscape], but this CSO is a great opportunity to take a stand and make a difference.ʼ

He also told stories about the early years of New Internationalist, and how the <a href=https://newint.org/issues/1973/03/01/>first issue</a> was put together around a kitchen table by a group of people in their mid-twenties.

ʻThe magazine today is a far better product in every way,ʼ he said. He added that although the challenges the magazine faced in its early days were formidable, they were not as formidable as those New Internationalist faces today.

ʻWe live in the time of a “climate-change” type of threat to our information infrastructure. Our hopes that the internet would lead to a decentralized structure are looking shaky.ʼ

His remark was followed by co-editor Vanessa Baird, who said, ʻThere is no point in denying these are times of danger and turmoil for independent media.

ʻBut they are also the most exciting times. This is time for a media revolution!ʼ

She said that in times in which the trend in the media is for concentration of ownership – with just three companies owning 70 per cent of the media in Britain – initiatives like New Internationalist’s CSO were a great way of re-establishing trust and democracy in the media.

The most moving speech came from Benny Wenda, a West Papuan activist who is fighting to liberate the Pacific nation from Indonesian rule and was nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize twice.
He told the story of how, when he was young, he bumped into the Indonesian military while walking outdoors with his mother and two aunts. The group was attacked. The soldiers beat his mother in front of his eyes, and raped his aunts.

As he grew up, Benny decided to fight for the liberation of West Papua, a fight that started before he was even born, and that has now been going on for half a century.

ʻNobody knows about our cry for freedom, about our fight,ʼ he said. He added that New Internationalist was one of the only Western media outlets that reported in depth on the oppression of West Papua – and he announced that West Papua will also be the cover story in the May 2017 issue of the magazine.

Benny survived three assassination attempts before managing to escape and settling in Britain.

ʻOnce, when the police picked me up, they found a copy of New Internationalist about West Papua,ʼ he says in New Internationalist’s campaign video, referring to the magazine’s 2002 issue on the struggles of his nation.

The police were worried about the possibility of such international media attention and released him.

ʻIn a way, this global community protected me. It may even have saved my life.ʼ

Co-editor Hazel Healy gave the final address, in which she gave a short introduction to New Internationalist’s business plan (which you can find on factsandheart.org) and on the reasons why it opted for a CSO in the first place.

ʻWe were at a crossroads,ʼ she said. ʻEither we started cutting down on quality, or we could decide to do something big and ambitious.ʼ

In a time of great distrust of the media, of filter bubbles, fake news and monopolies, New Internationalist has opened up its ownership, calling readers and supporters to ʻBuy into a Better Storyʼ and become co-owners.

As speakers wrapped up, New Internationalist’s Engagement Manager Helen Wallis reinforced the point that the CSO is a radical idea, but, at a time in which it is becoming harder and harder for independent media to survive, there has never been more need for it.

She quoted the actor and activist Mark Ruffalo, who said, ʻIf you’re losing hope, you’re not doing enough.ʼ (*)

Economy

Freeport’s one percent fund cannot guarantee Kamoro’s future

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Mathea Mamayou, a native Kamoro woman whose tribe affected tailings produced by PT Freeport Indonesia. – Jubi / Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – The Secretary for the Government, Politics, Law and Human Rights Commission of the Papua House of Representatives Mathea Mamoyao, who is also a Kamoro native, said ‘one percent fund’, 1% of Freeport’s gross revenues go to the local tribes, does not guarantee the sustainable future of those tribes.

“I don’t know whether this compensation is still there or not. I don’t want certain people took advantages on it, while people are still living under the poverty,” she told Jubi on Wednesday (18/7/2018).

Further, she said what she wants is a guarantee for the Kamoro tribe to live in a better condition in the future. But the fact is the education and health services in the Kamoro region is still poor. “For all the times, I’ll keep talking about it, because as a native, I don’t want the young generation of my tribe not to survive in the future,” she said.

Meanwhile, the board of Meepago Customary Council John NR Gobai said indigenous peoples as the tenure landowners collect the promise of the Indonesian Government on the bargain involved Freeport, the Central Government and the landowners on 4 September 2017.

“At that time, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Ignatius Jonan agreed to accommodate the request of Amungme tribe asking Freeport to give a reimbursement of 1% fund which they received as the Corporate Social Responsibly funds into larger value shares,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Military could only arise trauma among locals

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Student activists from BEM Uncen and PMKRI speak during press releases. -Jubi / Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – Chairman of Student Executive Board of the Cenderawasih University (BEM UNCEN) Paskalis Boma asks Papua Police to withdraw officers from Nduga District to prevent people from trauma.

He said the attack by the police officers occurred in Langguru and Kenyam on 11 July 2018 was very violent. “Nduga is part of Indonesia. If the police want to attack the National Liberation Army and Free Papua Movement (TPN/OPM), they shouldn’t harm the civilians,” he told Jubi on Wednesday (19/7/2018).

Further, he said the military’s attack in Nduga District was excessive as they attacked unarmed people whereas they were well-equipped. “People don’t carry weapons; they can’t fight back. They can’t do it because they are the citizens of Indonesia. This incident remains a scar and is rooted in the hearth of the local Nduga community. It only arises a fear.”

Meanwhile, Benediktus Bame, the Chairman of the Catholic Students Association of Indonesia (PMKRI) St Efrem Jayapura, the government could apply some human approaches towards the TPN/OPM. “The action taken by the government officials was very excessive. It would only arise a fear among the local people,” he said. (*)

Reporter: Hengky Yeimo

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Papuan Liberation Movement wants dialogue

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Members of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua at a Melanesian Spearhead Group summit in 2013: Paula Makabori, Dr John Ondawame, Rex Rumakiek. – RNZ / Johnny Blades

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua supports the idea of dialogue with Indonesia as long as it is mediated internationally, the movement’s secretary says.

Indonesia’s government of Joko Widodo has recently made overtures to West Papuan customary and civil society leaders for dialogue over a range of issues in Papua region.

Secretary Rex Rumakiek said the push for dialogue was not a bad thing.

“But dialogue internationally, not Indonesian type of dialogue that resulted in 1969’s Act of Free Choice. That’s the type of dialogue Indonesia wants. We are not going to go back to that approach,” Mr Rumakiek said.

“We want an international dialogue and the best place to dialogue is the United Nations general assembly. Let us vote on the issue.”

The movement hoped to have questions over the legitimacy of the self-determination act under which West Papua was incorporated into Indonesia debated by the UN General Assembly in the next year or two, Mr Rumakiek said.

Since being admitted to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) in 2015 with observer status in the regional grouping, the movement has had more opportunities to engage with Indonesia, which enjoys associate member status in the MSG.

The dynamic between the two parties, however, is clearly strained, as Indonesia’s government has characterised the movement as a separatist group that does not represent Papuans.

The full MSG members – Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia’s Kanaks – have been working to facilitate dialogue between the movement and Indonesia

“We can talk direct to them with the MSG members as witnesses. That is what we call a third party” Mr Rumakiek explained.

“We cannot talk direct to Indonesia by ourselves, but with the MSG facilitating. We try to avoid other people speaking on our behalf. The MSG is trying to arrange for meetings (between the West Papuans and Indonesia’s government).”

Meanwhile, the Australia-based Mr Rumakiek said the movement was disturbed by the reports from Papua’s remote Nduga regency that Indonesian security forces and the West Papua National Liberation Army had exchanged gunfire in recent weeks.

Three people were killed in an attack on police at the local airport two weeks ago during regional elections. A faction of the Liberation Army – which is not directly linked to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua – claimed responsibility.

Following the attack, about a thousand extra police and military personnel deployed to Nduga as part of a joint operation.

They have been conducting an aerial campaign over the Alguru area in pursuit of the Liberation Army, with unconfirmed reports saying at least two Papuans have been shot dead and others injured in recent days.

The Indonesian aerial operations over Alguru echoed previous military operations in the area, which devastated the livelihoods of Papuan villagers, Mr Rumakiek said.

“They are applying the same strategy that they bomb villages and chasing the people who live in the bush, so the after effects are much more serious than the actual destruction itself,” he said.

“Those people, when they come back to their village there will be nothing left for them to return to because the schools and clinics are destroyed and the churches are destroyed.”

But in a statement, Indonesia’s military said reports that security forces were conducting airstrikes or dropping bombs in Nduga were a hoax.

Military forces were working with police in “law enforcement activities” in Alguru, it said. (*)

 

Source: radionz.co

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