Chairperson of journalist association in Jayapura intimidated

The Chairperson of the Association of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Jayapura, Lucky Ireeuw, was reportedly subjected to acts of intimidation on 8 August 2021. According to local media outlets, Mr Ireeuw and his family parked their car on 7 August at the roadside in Hamadi and took a boat to the island of Engros-Tobati. The family was forced to stay overnight at the island because of a sudden change of weather. When they returned to their car on the following day, unknown perpetrators had smashed a side window (see photo, source: Jubi). In contrast to usual cases of criminal theft, no valuables were removed from the car. Moreover, other vehicles which were parked next to Ireeuw’s car remained unharmed. Both findings support the assumption that the act was meant as intimidation against Lucky Ireeuw, who also works as chief editor for the Papuan news outlet Cenderawasih Post.

Lucky Ireeuw officially reported the act of vandalism to the Jayapura police. The chairman of the Papuan Representative Office of the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM Perwakilan Papua), Frits Ramandey, called upon the Jayapura Municipality Police to process the case in accordance with the law and reveal the motive behind the attack.

Physical assaults, obstruction and acts of intimidation against Papuan journalists are no isolated incidents. Papuan journalist, Victor Mambor, was intimidated in Jayapura on 21 April 2021. Unknown perpetrators smashed the windshield, two side windows and defaced the car with spray paint. Observers believe that the attack was meant to intimidate Victor Mambor for several critical articles on the human rights situation in West Papua for the Papuan news outlet Jubi. Mr Mambor officially reported the incident to the police. The Jayapura police have failed to identify the perpetrator(s) as of today.