Al Jazeera has bowed to Indonesian pressure not to screen the West Papua documentary ‘Pride of Warriors. The film, which voiced West Papuan perspectives of the Indonesian military presence and human rights abuses, was due to be screen on Al Jazeera English channel on Thursday night at 6:30pm.
Melbourne film-makers documentary ‘Pride of Warriors’ was scheduled to screen on Al Jazeera English channel Thursday night at 6:30pm. In cooperation with the 3rd largest English television broadcasters, the film had been made to uncover secret human rights abuses in the Indonesian Province of West Papua. It appears that the channel bowed to pressure from the Indonesian Government and removed the documentary hours before it was due to be aired.
The film, which is said to have been made by smuggling 6 camera’s into the province where foreign media access is severely restricted, voiced West Papuan perspectives of the Indonesian military presence and human rights abuses. Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesperson told the Jakarta post Teuku Faizasyah that the film was ‘sensational’ and ‘one sided’ and violated the principles of journalism. While claiming that he was not aware of the screening being canceled, it is clear that the Indonesian government has exerted significant pressure on Al Jazeera to prohibit the film being screened to a worldwide audience.
This censorship shreds any legitimacy of the governments claim of democracy and freedom in West Papua, when journalists are forbidden to enter or report on such claims. Desperate measures such as this to cover up for human rights abuses showing how widespread such abuses really are. Standover tactics against foreign media such as this demonstrate how desperately media stories from West Papua must get out to the world.
If Indonesia is able to exert such control over foreign media outlets with impunity, than it is a sad day for press freedom, and a success for their attempt to vanish the truth about the situation in West Papua along with the West Papuan people. However if a protest against their censorship spreads on the net, their tactics will be revealed and come back to bite them.
Please spread widely and encourage Al Jazeera to re-schedule the film at: