The International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) joins the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in demanding
the immediate release of two foreign journalists detained without explanation in
Sumatra, Indonesia, yesterday.
AJI, an IFJ affiliate, reported that
Kumkum Dasgupta, senior assistant editor of the Hindustan Times, and Raimondo Bultrini, a correspondent for Itallia L’Espresso, were detained in Pelalawan,
Riau Province, yesterday afternoon alongside Greenpeace activists.
The pair were making a documentary on
illegal logging, and were filming at the location of
forest fires, in the company of environmental activists.
The journalists and activists were
ordered to accompany police to the local police station, where they were still being
held today, according to latest reports.
Police offered no explanation and no
arrest warrants were issued.
Both journalists had journalists’ permits
issued by Indonesian authorities, and they informed police of this.
“Under Indonesia’s Press Law, Article 4, journalists
are protected in the conduct of their legitimate work and are free to gather and
publish information accordingly,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
Director Jacqueline Park said.
“The IFJ calls on Indonesia’s governing
authorities to explain the law to local police in Pelalawan and to act
immediately to ensure the prompt release of Dasgupta and Bultrini.”
The journalists were detained with more
than 30 activists. Police alleged the group had illegally entered the private
property of Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper Ltd.
In 2007, the Southern Jakarta District Court awarded about US$150,000 to Riau
Andalan Pulp and Paper after the company sued Koran Tempo for defamation following the paper’s investigative
reporting on illegal logging activity.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
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