Peter John Jaban

Peter John Jaban

By peh4, 28 April 2014

Known by the pseudonym of “Papa Orang Utan,” Peter John Jaban is the voice of Radio Free Sarawak, a London-based shortwave radio station that broadcasts to local communities in the jungles of the Malaysian province of Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. A member of Sarawak’s Iban community, Jaban already defied the authorities by turning his previous radio station into a forum for criticizing exploitation and expropriation of the native population by the associates of Sarawak’s billionaire chief minister Taib Mahmud. Radio Free Sarawak has to operate clandestinely in Sarawak, where the authorities regard it as “seditious,” jamming its broadcasts and hacking its website in an attempt to prevent it from spreading its “lies” and “poisoning the spirit of the people.” Since returning to Sarawak in 2012, Jaban has lived in constant fear of being arrested but that doesn’t stop him from commenting ironically: “I much appreciate the honour of this recognition, not least because it may be useful if I am arrested.”