Transmedia Activism: Exploring the Possibilities in West Papua

Tanya Notley and Alexandra Crosby

Almost all of the academic and practice-based literature on transmedia storytelling is focused on fiction-based narratives. In this context, transmedia projects are seen to provide an opportunity for fictional narratives to be dispersed across multiple mediums and platforms, ideally with each medium and platform making its own contribution to the story in ways that entice and reward broad and deep levels of audience participation. This chapter considers the value of creating activist transmedia projects that seek to tell stories to, speak with and mobilise audiences across countries, cultures and languages. By engaging with some of the emerging definitions of Transmedia Activism, and examining two transmedia activist  projects that address social justice issues in West Papua, we raise new possibilities for what may constitute Transmedia Activism and question the need for transmedia stories to necessarily be fiction-based.

Read the essay here

From the book Transmedia Practice: A Collective Approach

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Waging Non-Violence: Flotilla unsettles Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua

Jason Macleod

As we sat around a campfire in Brisbane, Kevin Buzzacott held up a bottle of water collected from the springs near Lake Eyre — a vast salt encrusted plain, which except in times of rare floods is bone dry. The inner city park in Brisbane where we met was one of the many stops the West Papua Freedom Flotilla made in its journey over August and September from Australia to the Indonesian colony of West Papua. The rapt audience of black, white and indigenous activists that night included 30 people who would later board two small yachts on the last leg of the land and sea convoy.

Buzzacott spoke of a source in the north, on the border between West Papua and Papua New Guinea, that sends water surging thousands of kilometers south through a network of subterranean capillaries that later springs up in the desert. “This water has come to the Arabana people as a blessing from the land of the Papuans,” said Buzzacott, an Aboriginal elder from Lake Eyre. “I want to take it back to the people of West Papua and say thank you,” said Buzzacott.

Read the full story from Waging Non-Violence

Guardian: Australia ‘neglecting UN obligations’ by deporting West Papuan asylum seekers

Legal experts say by sending the group to PNG the government has ignored its duty to ensure they are safe from persecution.

Experts in refugee law have warned that Australia cannot pass off to Papua New Guinea its responsibility to process the claims of seven West Papuan asylum seekers.

The seven West Papuans told Australian immigration officials when they landed by boat in the Torres Strait last month that they feared for their lives after taking part in a protest against Indonesian human rights abuses in West Papua.

Read the full story from The Guardian

The Guardian: Former Liberal MP attacks Australia’s treatment of West Papuans

Former Liberal MP Judi Moylan has hit out at the Abbott government over its treatment of seven West Papuan asylum seekers who arrived by boat in the Torres Strait last month.

The seven, including a woman and a 10-year-old child, told customs officials when they landed in Australia on 24 September that they feared for their lives after taking part in a protest against Indonesian human rights abuses in West Papua. But their claims for asylum were ignored and they were swiftly deported to neighbouring Papua New Guinea, where they were handed over to local immigration officials.

Moylan described the move as “extraordinary”.

“I mean, we’ve just completely trashed our commitment to the UN [refugee] convention and to the convention on human rights,” she told Guardian Australia.

Read the full story from The Guardian

Green Left: Australia backs Indonesian repression, abandons asylum seekers

Three West Papuan activists scaled the walls of the Australian consulate in Bali on October 6, during the APEC meeting on the island, to seek refuge and demand that foreigners be allowed to freely enter West Papua.

The Australian government, however, took the opportunity to reaffirm its long-standing support for Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua.

The three men, Rofinus Yanggam, Markus Jerewon and Yuvensius Goo, presented their letter to Australian Consul-General Brett Farmer in the early morning. It asked the APEC leaders in Bali, including US State Secretary John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott “to persuade the Indonesian government to treat Papuan people better”.

Read the full story from Green Left Weekly

RNZI: Australia’s West Papuan asylum seekers to remote camp near PNG border

Six West Papuans who had sought asylum in Australia, but were secretly moved to Papua New Guinea by Australian authorities, have now been moved to a remote part of Western Province, near the Indonesian border.

The six, who were human rights activists, say they had fled Indonesia when security officials began searching for them after their involvement with the Freedom Flotilla from Australia.

They are being moved tomorrow to the East Awin camp about 50 kilometres from Kiunga.

A spokesperson for the Freedom Flotilla, Ruben Blake, told DW that the camp at East Awin is long established and the people already there are in a desperate state.

Read a transcript of the interview from Radio New Zealand International

Radio Australia: PNG officials move Papuan activists

A group of West Papuan activists says PNG officials are treating them “like criminals”.

A group of West Papuan activists says Papua New Guinean immigration officials are treating them “like criminals” after they were moved to PNG’s remote west.

Seven West Papuans – including a pregnant woman and a 10-year-old boy – have been staying in a hotel in Port Moresby for the past fortnight after being deported from Australia.

On Saturday PNG immigration officials, accompanied by two armed policemen, put them on a plane and flew them to Kiunga in Western Province, where they are staying with members of the local West Papuan community.

Read the report from Radio Australia News

RNZI: West Papuan asylum seekers fear move near Indonesian border

The seven West Papuan asylum seekers from Indonesia who Australia deported to Papua New Guinea last month have been told they will be moved to the Kiunga refugee camp in PNG’s Western Province.

Australia controversially refused to consider their asylum claims, transferring them instead to PNG under an agreement that refugee advocates say is simply a device to circumvent the Refugee Convention.

But a spokesperson for the West Papuan group, which includes a 10 year old child, Jacob Mandabayan, told Don Wiseman they fear such a move.

Read a transcript of the interview from Radio New Zealand