Cyclist claims his West Papua comments distorted in Jakarta
A Canadian man who cycled around the world to raise awareness of human rights abuses in West Papua says Indonesian media have insulted him by distorting comments he made about prisoners' conditions.
A Canadian man who cycled around the world to raise awareness of human rights abuses in West Papua says Indonesian media have insulted him by distorting comments he made about prisoners' conditions in Papua.
Jeremy Bally completed his 12,000 kilometre cycling trip this month, which included West Papua, and is soon to return home.
Mr Bally alleges media misquoted him about his recent visit to West Papua, saying he and the prisoners were treated well and had no problems.
He told Amelia Langford about his brief visit to West Papua.
JEREMY BALLY: I was really nervous about doing it in the first place because of the risks. We were pretty sure I was going to be at least deported or arrested. So it was a bit of a hard decision to make, but it just felt right, like there wasn't going to be another time to do it when the timing would be so appropriate with me finishing up this campaign and it just seemed like we had to. It felt amazing to be able to go back and wrap this thing up appropriately.
AMELIA LANGFORD: Tell me, you have been interviewed by media in Jakarta, I understand, and you've been misquoted?
JEREMY BALLY: So it was actually from interviews that happened when I was in Jayapura, I think. And I'm still trying to get clear about what has happened. The Jakarta Globe ran an article that basically had me... I'll paraphrase what they said I said, but it was that 'the prisoners are well and there's no problems, I'm sure the guards treat them very well' and the other quote was 'I had no issues in West Papua. I'm sure it's very different than what I've heard', which I never said anything remotely close to that except for maybe that when I saw the prisoners they seemed like they were in good spirits, they were doing OK, which they were that day 'cause they came out to see me and they were able to. But it sort of created the sense that 'Papua's fine. I think Papua is fine. No problems there'. SoThe Jakarta Globe, I already talked to them and they took that first article off and replaced it with one that was much better and didn't misquote me. The Jakarta Post, however, still has that same article up. So I've written an editorial response to them. It's the same misquotes where I say 'The prisoners are fine. The guards treat them very well. There's no problems in Papua', which is really insulting. It's extremely insulting to me to be characterised in that way and to the efforts of the prisoners first of all and everyone who helped organise this action to have it just so blatantly distorted in the media. So I'm going to make a call out to my network to be able to write letters to the editor, To The Jakarta Post, make sure that it's well-known that this is unacceptable. So I'm going to try and actually use The Jakarta Post article as an angle by which to talk about Indonesian propaganda in state media, in national media.
Jeremy Bally says West Papuan political prisoners are regularly subject to torture, poor living conditions and poor medical care.
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