Pacific Media Watch

14 June 2016

WEST PAPUA: Armed men threaten election journalists in Papua regency

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Path to democracy ... Election officials and witnesses count votes during the rerun election in a polling station in Mamberamo Raya, Papua. Image: Papua General Elections Commission

Nethy Dharma Somba
JAYAPURA (Jakarta Post/ Pacific Media Watch): Journalists have been intimidated and threatened while covering the rerun local election in the Mamberamo Raya regency in Papua.

Rivand Nay from private television station Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia (RCTI) in Papua was allegedly threatened by a group of men armed with bows, arrows and machetes at the Kampung Fona I polling station last Thursday.

His camera was also confiscated and he was forced to stay inside his house while armed men were outside.

In an interview with the Jakarta Post, Nay said he was walking from his house to cover the election when he was confronted by the men.

“I had only walked for around five minutes when I was suddenly blocked by around 10 people who had bows and arrows and short machetes. They told me to turn back and they kept my camera.”

The journalist said one of the unidentified persons aimed a bow and arrow at his chest.

Papua Post journalist Gultom Pangaribuan also said he and 10 other people were taken hostage at the Kampung Fona II polling station. He said there were two Mamberamo Raya Police officers at the polling station but they were "too afraid" to take action.

Banjir Ambarita, a journalist from said the journalists covering the elections were barred from doing their work.

“All the journalists have been intimidated and prohibited from taking pictures of the election by supporters of one of the regent and deputy regent candidate pairs,” he said to the Jakarta Post.

In total, nine journalists from various media outlets were covering the rerun election in Mamberamo Raya. One journalist covered each polling station.


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