Pacific Scoop

UK Embassy Denies Fake Journalism In Bintang Papua Article

Article – West Papua Media Alerts

UK Embassy Denies Fake Journalism In Bintang Papua Article “UK ambassador visits Papua to counteract ‘false information’ spread by ‘certain groups’ in London”UK Embassy Denies Fake Journalism In Bintang Papua Article “UK ambassador visits Papua to counteract ‘false information’ spread by ‘certain groups’ in London”

West Papua Media EXCLUSIVE

December 18, 2012 An article – “UK ambassador visits Papua to counteract ‘false information’ spread by ‘certain groups’ in London” – that appeared in the usually accurate Bintang Papua outlet on December 14, contained much false reporting in the original Bahasa Indonesia version ( ), according to both Papuan journalists and the spokesperson for the British Embassy in Jakarta.

The Bintang Papua article reported that “The British Embassy to Indonesia has described the situation in Papua as ‘very peaceful and conducive’. It is quite different from the information being disseminated by certain groups to the British London”.

However, according to the British embassy in Jakarta today, this statement was not made, nor was the staff officer identified in the article, Millie McDevitt able to speak with the press.

West Papua Media has been in extensive contact today with the Media Unit at the UK Embassy in Jakarta to establish the veracity or otherwise of this reporting. A spokesperson for the UK Embassy in Jakarta told West Papua Media exclusively on Tuesday night: “Mrs Millie McDevitt, political officer at the British Embassy, visited Papua last week as part of the British Embassy’s regular programme of Provincial visits. While there, she met a range of political and security representatives as well as the NGO and religious communities.
This follows on from the Ambassador’s own visit to Papua in September, when he wasted no opportunity with government, local government, military and police interlocutors to emphasise our hope that Papua will soon enjoy the same peace and prosperity as other parts of Indonesia.”

The spokesperson also said that the article “was littered with inaccuracies”.

Sources for West Papua Media who declined to be identified have claimed that the article, appearing in an outlet that is usually known for accurate reportage, was allegedly written by an Indonesian journalist in the pay of the Indonesian police. West Papua Media has not yet been able to check the veracity of this particular claim, however there has been extensive prior reporting on the involvement and interference of Indonesian security and intelligence agencies in newsrooms in West Papua. (see )

Numerous Papuan journalists today have raised concerns that this level of misreporting could significantly harm relations between the UK and Papuan people.

West Papua Media

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[Note: It is quite evident that the British ambassador in Jakarta made a special trip to Papua in response to a demonstration in London at the end of October, to protest against the visit to London by the Indonesian president. The British government should pay attention to the voluminous information from a great variety of sources posted on the internet every day about the violence and atrocities perpetrated by the Indonesian police in Papua. How long did the ambassador spend in Papua? Why restrict her visit to Jayapura? Who else did she meet apart from the chief of police? Did she take the trouble to meet Papuan leaders and activists, who are the ones who suffer detention, arrest, beatings and torture on a regular basis at the hands of the security forces in Papua? TAPOL]

Bintang Papua, 14 December 2012

The British ambassador to Indonesia has described the situation in Papua as ‘very peaceful and conducive’. It is quite different from the information being disseminated by certain groups to the British London, she said .

The ambassador, Millie McDevit made these comments during a visit to the chief of police in Jayapura, Police Inspector-General Tito Karnavian on 13 December. The ambassador said that she had made a special visit to the chief of police in order to get confirmation directly from him about information being spread by certain groups who allege that the situation in Papua is far from peaceful.

She went on to say that such information was being spread every time Papuans suffered discrimination by the Indonesian government, especially by the TNI – the army – and Polri, the police force.

She said that after visiting a number of places especially in Jayapura, she could see that things were very different indeed from what is being conveyed to the British government. ‘It is nothing like what I expected to find when I first set foot in Papua,’ she said.

‘When people visit Northern Ireland, you can be questioned anywhere, but in Papua you can go out late at night without being disturbed in any way.’

She said that security and development are proceeding very well in Papua and she expressed support for what the police in Papua are doing to combat corruption because combating corruption is the best way to improve people’s welfare.

The police chief Tito Karnavian said that they had provided plenty of information to the ambassador in order to contradict all the negative information being spread about the situation in Papua. ‘The ambassador decided to come to Papua to check the information,’ he said.

Karnavian also said that they had asked the British government to provide the police in Papua with special equipment to check people’s DNA. At present, the police have to identify people involved in violence and shootings by checking the evidence outside Papua. ‘If we have the equipment to check people’s DNA, this will help to enhance the ‘supremacy of law’ here in Papua,; he said.

[Translated by TAPOL]


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  1. Tessa, 19. December 2012, 15:30

    The translation made by TAPOL is incorrect.. Bintang Papua never said that McDevitt was the UK Ambassador to Indonesia (They said she was the British Embassy’s Political Section’s Special Staff ) nor claimed that they interviewed her.. It was a report on her courtesy call with the Papua Chief of Police.

    Bintang Papua’s mistake is that they published a conversation that should’ve been off the record and McDevitt was speaking diplomatically to the police chief.. The “fake journalism” is UK Embassy’s denial and TAPOL’s biased translation..

  2. Olivia, 19. December 2012, 16:09

    What is fake is TAPOL’s translation.. Bintang Papua never said that McDevitt was the British Ambassador (they stated UK Embassy Political Section Special Staff), they also didn’t say that they interviewed McDevitt. The story is about her “diplomatic” courtesy call with the Papua police chief.

    Bintang’s mistake was publishing an “off the record” conversation, full of diplomatic pleasentries, but its not off the record if the Indonesian police gave them the transcript.

  3. Nick Chesterfield, 20. December 2012, 15:58

    Olivia and Tess – who appear to be the same person – yes the Tapol translation is incorrect. On the original WPM version – – this was spotted and corrected by our translators. We have asked for the above forwarded email to be corrected on this site.

    But the UK Embassy has not been reacting to the Tapol mistranslation – they reacted to the article. It is interesting that you know that the police gave BIntang Papua a transcript of an off-the record conversation – how do you know this, as it wasn’t in the article?. Were you there Olivia/Tessa? Because you make it sound like you have inside knowledge.

    Millie McDevitt denied that she ever said those words, and she certainly would not have made disingenuous comments about Northern Ireland. I cannot ethically divulge what was said to me off the record from several senior members of the UK Embassy on Tuesday – to remind you, divulging off-the-record conversations is unethical and is fake journalism – but her quotes are fabrications.

    Furthermore, the Bintang Papua journalist never attempted to check with McDevit if she actually said those words – they just reprinted straight what the police gave to them. Printing a transcript given by a civilian killing police chief who is famous for never telling the truth, without checking – and whilst continuing a ruse that the journalist actually got those quotes from a direct interview – is the very definition of fake journalism.

    Bintang Papua may not have claimed they spoke to her, but nor did the journalist say how the information was come by. That is perpetuating a ruse. Failing to attribute information is also fake journalism. The intimation that all news articles in any outlet carry is that quotes in an article were directly made to that outlet. Otherwise it should be labelled as “xxx said, as reported by”. Not doing that is misrepresentation – again, fake journalism.

    By the way Olivia/Tessa – I should point out your IP address matches the IP address for someone who has just left similar fake comments on West Papua Media, calling themselves “Amber”. One can spot a BIN officer a mile away. Speaking of fake journalists?

    Nick Chesterfield
    West Papua Media