IFJ Demands Release of Foreign Journalists in Sumatra

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.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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