Ignorance of Peace Journalism Fuels Conflict in Tolikara

Religious leaders in the Papua province have agreed to settle the recent incident in Tolikara district by traditional wisdom - Jubi
Religious leaders in the Papua province have agreed to settle the recent incident in Tolikara district by traditional wisdom – Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – Media failure to apply journalistic ethics and peace journalism has been blamed for fueling the conflict between Muslims and Christians in Tolikara and in other places in Indonesia, a Muslim youth leader said.

Nahdatul Ulama (NU) Papua Youth Chairman, Ridwan al-Makassary said the Tolikara incident that occurred on 17 July 2015 has been wrongly interpreted by most media workers, as they didn’t apply journalistic standards.

And when making coverage of such incident that was triggered by miscommunication between interreligious communities, a journalist is expected able to cover it with the perspective of peace journalism.
“I see the peace journalism as foundation to get a solution at that point but didn’t executed by journalists,” said the lecturer of Jayapura Science and Technology University who spent most of his life from childhood in Serui during a dialogue ‘Peace Papua, Peace Indonesia’ held by national television station in Jayapura on Saturdary (1/8/2015).

In the forum attended by government officials, military, police and presidential staff, as well as religious and community leaders, Ridwan said his visit to Karubaga after two days of incident gave him a different point of view compared with the media coverage including national media.

He said people in Tolikara have good relations among themselves, and are living in harmony, even they share each other. For example, a Christian family provides their house for homestay for ustad (Muslim religious leader) from Nahdatul Ulama whom local people called ‘Islam Shepherd. He is Ustad Ali Muktar.
“Before the incident, I saw ustad stayed at Christian family’s house,” he said.  Ridwan further said he also observed high tolerance among local people that who seemed unwilling to allow this ‘Islam shepherd’ out of Tolikara at the end of this month. Religious leader from Tolikara, Ustad Ali left Tolikara to participate in Muktamar NU (NU Conference) in Jombang, East Java.

“When Ustad wanted to live, they (local people) said ‘please don’t go Islam Shepherd’. That’s they said. That’s I saw. So, the relationship has already fine,” said Ridwan who currently take Master of Human Rights and Democracy in Sydney, Australia.

Ridwan also said 40 Muslim refugees whose burned houses admitted during the first time came and stayed in Tolikara, they never experienced any pressure or intimidation because of faith. ‘They said there’s not pressure, intimidation. So I was surprised when media told the opposite,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Papua Interreligious Harmony Forum, the Rev. Lipius Biniluk said the incident that took a life because lack of relationship and communication at the level of leaders.

He appealed every leaders to improve their communication and relationship to create peace in Papua, peace in Indonesia.
“Communication between the leaders is quite disturbed. Papua community do not recognize any religious conflict. So, communication between the leaders should be improved for the sake of peace in Papua, peace in Indonesia, the Rev. Biniluk. (Yuliana Lantipo/rom)