Benny Giay: “Journalists in West Papua doing the same thing with Journalists in South Africa during Apartheid Era”

Jayapura, (26/7)Benny Giay, Chairman of the Synod of Kingmi on West Papua said that news of Papua, published by local and national mass media (Indonesia) have occurred in South Africa in the apartheid era. Investors and the government should control the public mind in a discriminatory manner through journalists and mass media.

“I think the news in the history of the community/state totalitarian and repressive media owner are required  to follow the will of the regime. They, the media managers or journalists who write the story from the perspective of a victimized by totalitarian and repressive regimes are considered as trouble.” Benny Giay said to, Wednesday (27/6) in Jakarta via mobile phone.

In the same place, Septer Manufandu, Executive Secretary of Foker LSM Papua also said that the mass media and journalists have been instrumental in Papua to fertilize the stigma of separatist and also helped construct the public opinion that the perpetrators of terror and violence these days is the Papuans.
“The news media and journalists are very discriminating. This is a problem for us Papuans, because news like this fosters separatist stigma and make people think that the perpetrators of current terror and violence are the Papuans. Though police are not able to prove it.” Septer said to reporters in Jakarta, Tuesday, June 26th.

According to Benny Giay, these circumstances indicate that the media managers or journalists in this context has a discriminatory act. However, he also understands if this situation can sometimes occur because of the ruling regime had a stake in the media in which journalists work.

“Noam Chomsky have a view about this culture in which the investor or the authorities controlling the public mind with the one-sided message that discriminated against a group that was sacrificed. Journalists in West Papua doing the same thing with Journalists in South Africa during Apartheid Era in the 1950s or in Indonesia in the 19th century. Nothing new in Papua. ” Benny Giay said to confirms his view.

Press freedom in South Africa does have a fragmented history. Some sectors of the South African media can openly criticize the system of apartheid and the National Party government, but they are hampered by government censorship for years. Besides, not many journalists in the apartheid era, which could draw a clear boundary between truth and the interests of the ruler. Also of particular interest from the media companies they work for. At the time of apartheid, the control of journalists and mass media is very powerful. Mass media are dominated by noise and information from the apartheid regime.

One example is the death of Steve Biko, a South African student leader who founded the Black Consciousness Movement. On August 18, 1977, Biko was arrested by the police of Africa. Biko was arrested on charges of violating South Africa Act, No. 38, 1967 on Terrorism. He was interrogated by police officers from Port Elizabeth, Harold Snyman and Gideon Nieuwoudt. Interrogation that lasted twenty-two hours, including torture and beatings that resulted Biko coma. He suffered serious head injuries while in police custody and was chained to a window grille for a day. Mass Media in South African did not wrote this torture, but wrote Biko was arrested for violating the Terrorism Act, until a journalist and now political leader, Helen Zille, along with Donald Woods, who is also a journalist and an editor, reveal the truth behind Biko’s death.

Steve Biko died shortly after arriving at the Pretoria prison, on 12 September 1977. The police claimed his death was the result of a hunger strike which he did. But an autopsy revealed bruises and abrasions that led to Biko give up on a brain hemorrhage from a large wound in his head. An autopsy was used as powerful evidence that Biko was brutally beaten by his captors.

The attitudes of mass media in South Africa during the apharteid era on Biko’s death is almost equal to the attitude of local and national mass media in Indonesia against the death of Mako Tabuni, the Vice Chairman of the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB). Journalists and mass media only writing base on the view of the police without any express testimony of the witnesses. Mako Tabuni, reported by newspapers shot to death because he tried to fight back to the police, while some witnesses expressed Mako Tabuni was shot without warning. (Jubi/Victor Mambor)


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