by Allanah Leahy – EM TV Online
French journalists Thomas Dandois, 40, and Valentine Bourrat, 29, were detained by the Indonesian government on August 6 this year for not acquiring journalist visas as reported by international news channel France 24.
According to France 24, the journalists were filming a documentary for Franco-German TV channel Arte, in West Papua.
Indonesian newspaper Tabloid Jubi reported the police’s refusal to grant permission for a peaceful demonstration yesterday; despite this, the West Papuan activists went ahead with their cause.
Pacific Media Watch and Radio NZ International reported the arrests of 29 members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) after being forcefully disbanded yesterday.
Pacific Media Watch reported a statement from the Free West Papua Campaign:
“The Indonesian government is still systematically trying to cover up their atrocities in West Papua by banning all foreign media. They do not want the world to know the truth because they know that when it is exposed, the international community will help to support the West Papuan people and their struggle for self-determination…
Please do remember the West Papuan people, as well as Thomas and Valentine in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow as West Papuans will risk their lives to help bring freedom to journalists who are giving the Papuan people a voice.”
An international campaign for the freedom of Dandois and Bourrat reported 7,000 signatures.
According to global union the International Federation of Journalists, the European Federation of Journalists, the French Union of Journalists and Indonesia’s Alliance of Independent Journalists are amongst international support in pressuring the Indonesian Government for the release of the journalists.