News reports on the conflict zone of West Papua are still mostly regulated by mainstream Indonesian media and though a ban on foreign journalists was lifted in May 2015, some independent media remain blocked. Reporters Without Borders have also recently expressed disappointment over the government’s performance with regards to freedom of information and media freedom, especially in West Papua.
Officials claim concerns over “security”, but the state of the media landscape there only restricts people from accessing factual, reliable information. Initiatives for citizen journalism, such as our Papuan Voices project and other workshops are vital to ensure that balanced news from the province. One such workshop was held on 9 October 2015, training Anthropology students from the University of Cendrawasih in the basics of journalism writing.
Angel from Tabloid Jubi, a local news portal, was invited to be one of the guest trainers. According to her, Papua has a low level of reading interest and so it’s better to upload short articles where people can get all the information they need in a short time.
The participants were mentored to use key elements of journalism such as the ‘5W+1H’ framework, how to consider the actuality, magnitude, target and impact of respective topics, and how journalism organisation is structured. The students were very enthusiastic during the workshop as they aim to start a student-led community for journalism in their faculty.
At the end of the session, the students were asked to work on short reports for practice. She added that before making them, they should prepare background information on their chosen topics, read several related articles and also develop a list of questions.
Tabloid Jubi continues to hold similar workshops across West Papua.