The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned for the safety of abducted Berita Sore reporter, Elyuddin Telaumbanua, after two months of police investigations have failed to make any progress.
Telaumbanua was reported missing on August 22 after he failed to make contact with his editors while on assignment in the district of Teluk Dalam, in Southern Nias.
The IFJ, a global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries, is concerned that police investigations have stalled and hold grave concerns for Teaumbanua’s life.
The IFJ has written to the Indonesian Head of Police calling for a rapid and thorough investigation into Telaumbanua’s abduction to ensure that justice prevails.
“The IFJ calls on the Indonesian Government to instruct the appropriate authorities to fast track the injury into Telaumbanua’s disappearance, as any delay in this case could be a matter of life and death,” said IFJ president Christopher Warren.
IFJ sources report that Telaumbanua’s abduction was linked to a series of reports he published on electoral corruption in Southern Nias, sparking concern that government authorities may be involved in his disappearance.
“Telaumbanua’s disappearance demonstrates a clear attempt to censor the independent media in Indonesia and is a serious setback to press freedom in the region,” Said the IFJ president.
“Indonesian journalists should not have to live in fear of abduction or violent attacks against themselves or their families for reporting on political matters”, said Warren.
The continued delays in the investigation lead hundreds of journalists to protest in front of the House of Representatives in North Sumatra on September 15.
In addressing the demonstration Berita Sore chief editor, Teruna Jasa Said, described the abduction as a “tragic situation for the national and international press.”
Vice Chairman of the north Sumatra Provincial Legislative Council, Commission A (DPRD Sumut), Nurdin Ahmad, addressed the hundreds of demonstrators, condemning all violence against the press. He vowed to take the matter to the police authorities and ensure the case was being followed through appropriately.
“It was encouraging that the Commission publicly denounced violence against journalists, but that was over a month ago and still little progress into the case has been made,” said Warren.
For more information contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries