Journalists boycott Papua Police news

Journalists boycott Papua Police news
, 24 August 2010

Scores of journalists in Jayapura have agreed to boycott any news related to the Papua Police in protest to the absence of investigation on the mysterious death of a Merauke journalist, Ardiansyah Matrais.

"So long as Ardiansyah's death is still a mystery, we will never cover news from the Papua Police, even when we are invited to," Cunding Levi, secretary of the Jayapura's Independence Journalists Association (AJI), said in Jayapura Monday.

The 31-year-old’s body was found floating in a river near a coal warehouse in Merauke, Papua, last month.

The boycott will be launched by journalists in Papua, including those of the Cenderawasih Post, Bintang Papua, Pacific Post, and Business Papua, Jubi Tabloid, and Boda Post, as well as two local TV stations..

"We will never cover news from the police until the death of our colleague is thoroughly unveiled," an unidentified journalist said as was quoted by Antara.

Govt urged to thoroughly investigate Papuan journalist's murder
, 21 August 2010

The Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (Imparsial) and the Indonesian Journalist Alliance (AJI) urged the government to investigate the murder of Ardiansyah Matra'is, a reporter of Merauke TV in Papua.

"The state has failed to perform its duty to protect a human rights defender," Imparsial's managing director Poengky Indarti told the press in Jakarta Saturday.

Matra'is was found dead at the Maro river in Merauke, Papua on July 30. Earlier, he had received threats through text messages. His death was allegedly linked to his coverage of illegal logging practices published in Jubi magazine last year.

The National Police Headquarters confirmed Friday that Matra'is was murdered and drowned into the river as indicated by the post-mortem result.

Police must probe Papua death: AJI
, 23 August 2010

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) said in Papua on Saturday that the police must thoroughly investigate the death of Merauke TV journalist Ardiansyah Matrais.

The 31-year-old’s body was found floating in a river near a coal warehouse in Merauke, Papua, last month.

“We urge the Papua and Merauke Police to handle the case seriously. According to a spokesperson for
the National Police there was evidence of violence on the journalist’s body, including loose teeth,” AJI Papua chapter chairman Viktor Mambor, told The Jakarta Post in Jayapura on Saturday.

He said Ardiansyah’s death also happened when threatening text messages had been sent to several Merauke journalists prior to the regional election that was held on Aug. 2.

“The cause of the death must be clearly revealed. If he was murdered, the murderer must be captured so we can learn the motive,” said Viktor, adding that violence against Merauke’s journalists had increased ahead the

The police have not named a suspect in the case. An autopsy concluded that Ardiansyah was still alive when thrown into the Maro River.

“He was strangled to death in the water,” a National Police re-presentative, Untung Yoga Ana, said on Friday as quoted by, adding that the autopsy also found evidence of violence.

According to the AJI’s investigation, someone had been looking for Ardiansyah at home claiming to be a college friend, but was unknown to his family.

After Ardiansyah died, the unknown friend never showed up, Viktor said.

“We are now looking for information on who Ardiansyah talked to before his death,” Viktor said.

Papua Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Wachyono said that Ardianysah had been depressed and was once treated at a mental hospital.

“Let’s wait for the result of his autopsy to make sure of the cause of his death,” he said.

Wachyono also declined to comment on a possible connection to the threatening text messages received by the Merauke journalists.

Local journalist Lala Fakaubun said she stopped received threatening text messages after the National Police’s antiterrorism unit, Detachment 88, arrived in Merauke.

Some have speculated that Ardiansyah’s death was linked to his coverage of illegal logging practices in Papua, which had been published in Jubi magazine last year.

Other journalists in Papua, such as Bintang Papua reporter Lala, Papua Selatan Pos chief editor Raymond, Jubi tabloid reporter Indri and Cendrawasih Pos reporter Sulo have also received text message threats or letters written in blood, Indonesian Human Rights Watch said.