West Papua: Michael Buerk creates moral dilemma

Michael Buerk creates moral dilemma

Michael Buerk has managed to offend West Papuans on The Moral Maze – the Radio 4 programme that he presents – by calling them “primitive” and suggesting they kill outsiders. Tim Walker Last Updated: 6:06PM GMT 25 Feb 2009 A spokesman for Elsham, Papua’s leading human rights organisation, says: “I’m surprised an experienced journalist like Mr Buerk should say something that is both offensive and totally wrong. The people being killed in Papua are ordinary Papuans, by the Indonesian military and police. At least 100,000 have been killed. It would be nice to get journalists covering this, rather than regurgitating racist stereotypes. “Mr Buerk’s comments will reinforce public opinion that indigenous West Papuans are not capable of making their own decisions about their land, their natural resources and their forests, and that they should not be accorded human rights like other human beings. “It will reinforce the idea that to be oppressed and colonized, under an Indonesian occupation, is the right thing for us. “It would be better for Mr Buerk and his media to work with the UK government to pressure Indonesia’s government to make West Papua open to the outside world. That means allowing journalists to enter. That way, Mr Buerk could visit West Papua, meet West Papuans and judge the situation himself.” Surely, morally, Buerk ought to apologise and even, perhaps, consider devoting a programme to debate the issue? ————————

2) BBC Papua report labelled dangerously wrong RNZI Posted at 01:17 on 26 February, 2009 UTC Survival International, a British-based campaign group for the rights of tribal peoples, has criticised a top broadcaster over comments he made in apparent reference to Papuans. In comments on his BBC radio programme, ’Moral Maze’, the presenter Michael Buerk said the only really primitive societies to survive into the modern age were the tribes in the remote parts of New Guinea. Mr Buerk added that whenever they come across a stranger they kill them. In a statement, the director of Survival International, Stephen Corry, described Mr Buerk as dangerously wrong. Mr Corry said that little-contacted peoples had very good reason to fear outsiders, who he said had brought death and destruction in their wake. Mr Corry said the tribal people’s hostility and fear which he said characterised new contacts, had nothing to do with their being primitive. There’s been no response from Mr Buerk. Two years ago, Boris Johnson, who’s now Mayor of London, was criticised for saying his fellow politicians had been involved in what he called Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing. Mr Johnson later apologised to the PNG government for his remarks. He added he was sure that Papua New Guineans, as he put it, led lives of blameless bourgeois domesticity.


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One Response to “West Papua: Michael Buerk creates moral dilemma”

  1. Karubaba Says:

    Hi, Ipahrs,
    Your article on “Michael Buerk Create a Dilemma”, I find it very interesting because, it indicate to me that such experiece journo’s had not been to West Papua. Michael wont made such dilemma if only he physically set his legs on the West Papuan soil.

    My plea to the international community and journo’s to preasure the Indonesian goverment to have access to indonesia (West Papua) to cover the on going Human rights violation in West Papua

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