Indonesian police not investigating violence against journalists, says AJI

A police officer kicks photographer Ikshan Arham of the Rakyat Sulsel newspaper during a student protest at Makassar State University on November 13, 2014. Police allegedly assaulted 10 journalists that day, but no officers have been prosecuted for those abuses. © 2014 Hasrul Said/Radar Makassar /Human Rights Watch

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

Indonesian police have not been investigating reported cases of violence against journalists, reports Indonesian news magazine Tempo.

According to the Jakarta Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), there have been 26 cases of alleged violence against journalists reported to police in 2019 but not one has been fully investigated or taken to trial.

“They haven’t reached the criminal investigation stage, let alone the courts,” said AJI advocacy head Erick Tanjung.

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According to Tanjung, 20 of these reports were related to violence against journalists during the May 22 post-election riots in Jakarta. In one case the perpetrator was a police officer.

Five other cases related to an evening gathering of Islamic groups at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta dubbed the Munajat 212 on February 21, and another related to an assault on a journalist during a sentence hearing against notorious gang leader Hercules Rozario Marshal on March 27.

Tanjung said that the alleged cases of violence against journalists were both direct and indirect and took the form of physical assaults, the seizure of equipment, the forced deletion of photographs and persecution on the internet.

Meanwhile, in resolving the case of alleged violence against journalists by a police officer, Tanjung said that the AJI had already pursued ethnical channels by reporting the case to the police’s professionalism and security division (Propam) but the report was not followed up.

Tanjung also criticised the role of the mass media and journalists who themselves have been victims of violence.

Out of the 26 cases of violence against journalists only two reporters or victims were prepared to be assisted by AJI in making reports with police. Yet Tanjung said that journalists need to push for cases of violence against them to be resolved legally so that they are not repeated.

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