This past month marked 19 years since Indonesian journalist Fuad Mohammad Syfruddin was murdered. On August 16, 1996, Udin, as he was popularly known, died from injuries he sustained during an attack by unidentified assailants in his home. Udin, a correspondent for the Yogyakarta daily Bernas, had written articles on land disputes and local government corruption.
Joshua Oppenheimer travelled to New York for today's premiere of his documentary "The Look of Silence," but one place he won't travel is Indonesia, where he says his work on this and an earlier film puts him at risk. Earlier this week, Laura Poitras, the Academy Award-winning director of the documentary CITIZENFOUR, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government seeking information related to border interrogations to which she was subjected between 2006 and 2012. These two cases represent the increased and varied risks facing filmmakers and their sources in what many critics have dubbed the Golden Age of documentary film.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced over the weekend that his government would allow foreign journalists to report unrestricted from the country's eastern Papuan provinces, breaking a virtual 50-year blackout of international news coverage of the restive region. The announcement raises the prospect of an independent media check on one of Asia's most under-reported civil conflicts between the Indonesian state and Free Papua Movement rebel group.
With more than 50 years of restricted media access, one of the least covered armed conflicts in the world is the long-simmering struggle between Indonesia's military and the secessionist Free Papua Movement. Under Indonesia's seven successive post-independence governments--the early ones led by autocratic strongmen, the recent ones more or less democratically elected--the world has been deprived of details of the persistent low-intensity battle for autonomy playing out in the Papuan provinces.
A sense of optimism seems to be filling the streets of Jakarta after the election of President Joko Widodo, who took office a few weeks ago. Against this backdrop of hope, the Committee to Protect Journalists joined other press freedom and freedom of expression groups for a series of meetings in Indonesia's capital and Bali last week to meet journalists, media advocates, and government ministers.
New York, October 24, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's conviction and sentencing to prison of French documentary filmmakers Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat on charges of breaking immigration laws in Indonesia. The two were sentenced to two months and 15 days in prison and are expected to be released next week because of time served, according to news reports citing their lawyer.
Dear President Yudhoyono: The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide, is writing to express its concern about two international journalists who have been imprisoned in Indonesia since early August.
New York, August 11, 2014--Indonesian authorities have detained two French journalists since last week, according to news reports. Documentary filmmakers Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat were detained after reporting on the separatist movement in the restive eastern region of Papua and have been accused of entering the country illegally on a tourist visa, the reports said.
Economists and political scientists acknowledge that journalism is vital to development and democracy. By Robert Mahoney
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.