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West Papuan journalists’ advocate to visit

July 2, 2014

West Papuan journalists’ advocate to visit

The first journalist from West Papua to visit New Zealand, Victor Mambor, is due in the country from July 27 to August 3.

West Papua has a reputation as one of the most difficult places to report on, with foreign journalists banned from entry to record the territory’s half-century-long struggle between Indonesian authorities and indigenous Papuan activists.

Mr Mambor is Editor of the Jayapura-based newspaper and website Tabloid Jubi and Chairperson of West Papua’s Alliance of Independent Journalists. In recent years, he has campaigned internationally for greater press freedom, including early this year at the European Parliament. He has written about police raids on local media offices, “fake journalists” who work for the police and military, and the disappearances and deaths of Papuan activists.

A group of Auckland musicians will combine at a gig on Friday, July 4 at Karangahape Road’s The Wine Cellar and Whammy Bar to raise money for Mr Mambor’s expenses. Acts include SJD, Mara TK, Tourettes, The Bads, Steve Abel, Nightchoir, Will Wood, Reb Fountain, Road Warriors and Loud Ghost. Doors open at 8pm and the cost is $15.

Mr Mambor was invited to New Zealand by long-time human rights advocate Maire Leadbeater, Associate Law Professor at Auckland University Treasa Dunworth and freelance journalist and media academic Paul Bensemann. Mr Bensemann met Mr Mambor when in West Papua last year, posing as a bird-watcher.

During his visit, Mr Mambor will be keynote speaker at a seminar about West Papua at Auckland University’s law faculty on August 1 and 2. The programme will include Melbourne-based Papuan campaigner Paula Makabory, Auckland’s Pacific Media Centre Director Professor David Robie and Social and Cultural Studies Senior Lecturer Dr Elizabeth Stanley of Victoria University, Wellington.

Much of Mr Mambor’s time, however, will be spent meeting New Zealand journalists and journalism students, especially those specialising in politics, Maori issues and the Pacific Islands.

His visit has been assisted by a grant from the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

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