Ryan Dagur – A native Papuan journalist known for reporting on human rights issues has been awarded the press freedom award by an Indonesian journalists' organization.
Victor Mambor, the co-founder of tabloid Jubi, the largest media in Papua, was presented the Udin Award on the 28th anniversary of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) on Aug. 7.
The award is named after the pen name used by Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin, a journalist of the Yogyakarta-based Bernas Daily who died after being attacked by two unknown assailants on August 16, 1996.
Mambor hoped the award would remind the public that "intimidation, criminal, physical, verbal and digital violence against journalists is still happening" and the media in Papua is fighting daily for its freedom to report.
"If we believe that the press is the fourth pillar of democracy, then we should encourage better press freedom in the land of Papua so that democracy will do better too," he said.
AJI said that Mambor has consistently raised human rights violations in Papua through his journalism since 1996. He has written in Indonesian and international media, and also co-founded the tabloid Jubi.
"With Jubi, Victor brings more voices from Papua, in the midst of the dominance of information that is biased, unilateral and discriminates against Papua," AJI said.
Due to his experience, Mambor is also known as a mentor for young journalists in the easternmost region.
In June, he conducted training in journalism for seminarians in the three dioceses of Papua as part of a program organized by the Franciscan Secretariat for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.
Yuli Langowuyo, executive director of the Franciscan Secretariat for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, said Mambor is very deserving of the award because of his dedication and consistency as a journalist.
She further lauded him for sparing his knowledge and time with the grassroots community during the training of seminarians.
"Even though his work as a journalist, especially in Papua, brings danger to himself and his family, we do not see him resigning from his journalism work," she told UCA News.
Bambang Muryanto, one of the award's jury said, it is not easy for a journalist like Mambor to maintain professionalism and independence in conflict-torn Papua.
"His own safety and that of his family is at stake. The remoteness of his location also poses several challenges in presenting a comprehensive picture," he said.
Mambor has been intimidated on several occasions for his reporting.
The UN Human Rights Council in September 2021 called him a humanitarian and a rights activist who experienced frequent acts of violence and intimidation.
"Threats are certainly like daily food for him and other journalists in armed conflict areas," Muryanto said.
Papua has seen conflict since becoming a part of Indonesia in 1969 with continued resistance by armed pro-independence groups.
The province is ranked 33 among the country's 34 provinces as per the Press Freedom Index released by Indonesia's Press Council in January.
The Indonesian government restricts foreign journalists from visiting the region.