If we try to find John Martinkus online, one of the references is Wikipedia. It said that John Martinkus is an Australian print and television journalist reporting from conflict zones. He began reporting from East Timor in 1995 and set up base there in 1998. He also reported extensively from Papua and Aceh in Indonesia, two provinces which have also had long-running conflict.
A good reference about John Martinkus is not always inline with his writings. Some are good but some are so bad and almost like propaganda. His tendency using provocative sentences and unchecked reports shows a potential of libel journalism.
To avoid misunderstanding, please see the different between libel, slander and defamation. Libel refers to a false statement made in writing, such as on a website or in a newspaper. Slander refers to a false spoken statement rather than written. With the rise of the Internet, slander could also refer to a statement made during an online chat. Defamation is a statement that damages the reputation of a person. Both libel and slander are forms of defamation.
White Phosphorous Grenade
This article will not label John with something bad. I just want to question his objectivity when writing report on West Papua. In Martinkus’ new book The Road: Uprising in West Papua for example, he put his hoax propaganda about the use of white phosphorous grenades or bomblets by Indonesian military. It was taken from Saturday Paper exclusive report.
According to Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “The ministry said the report had overshadowed “the murder of 19 innocent civilians on 2 December 2018 by armed separatist groups in Nduga, Papua”. Furthermore, The Ministry said Indonesia as a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has not even one of the chemicals listed in the Convention of Chemical Weapons. As for the use of the military involvement in security operation in Papua, the Ministry said it was not as described by The Saturday Paper (please read Tempo).
The Manipulation of West Papua Petition
The book also mentioned propaganda by the ULMWP chairman who is still a murder suspect, Benny Wenda. Mr. Wenda was depicted as a leader who delivered a petition with 1.8 million signatures to the UN. As a journalist, John should have know that the petition is a manipulation.
But from New York, the chairman of the committee said no petition had been received and the report, which first appeared in The Guardian newspaper, was a manipulation. He said, “Some people are trying to use me and trying to manipulate or whatever,” Rafael Ramirez said. “I’m concerned because some people are trying to use me as propaganda.” (see ABC)
Please double check and crosscheck John Martinkus’ writings about West Papua and Indonesia. If you find more evidences about libel journalism by John Martinkus, please let me know.