Indonesia: Journalist threatened at gun point in Aceh

An online journalist was physically assaulted and threatened by gunpoint for his coverage of a transport company in Aceh on January 4. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia denounce the threat on his life and urge the police to investigate the matter.

Firmansyah files incident report to the police. Credit: Modusaceh.co

Firmansyah, a reporter for online outlet modusaceh.co, published a story on transport company Tuah Akfi Utama(TAU) for failing to pay the road tolls. TAU transports piles used in the construction of the steam power plants in West Aceh and had agreed with the locals to pay a road toll. The chairman of TAU, Akrim, alleged Firmansyah was biased in his coverage and requested a meeting. While he initially declined a meeting, the journalist later agreed to meet Akrim in his office after being approached by two men who reiterated Akrim’s meeting request.

At the meeting on January 4, Firmansyah was threatened in Akrim’s office by a man holding a gun, while another held his neck. The journalist was forced to write a statement admitting the story was false. He was also threatened that if the story had not been publicly corrected within a week that he would face consequences. 

According to AJI, police arrested Akrim on January 9 and held him for three days before releasing him on remand. AJI noted that police are pursuing prosecution under the Press Law instead of the Criminal Code.  

AJI call on the police to investigate the incident and guarantee the safety of Firmansyah and his family. 

The IFJ said: “Indonesia’s police must show a commitment to ending impunity and taking threats to journalists lives seriously. We condemn the threats on Frimansyah’s life and urge police to immediately ensure the safety of him and his family.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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