Indonesia: Lampung Governor verbally threatens and intimidates journalist

Tuti Nurkhomariyah, a journalist with RMOL Lampung, was verbally assaulted by Lampung’s governor, Arinal Djunaidi, at a press conference on March 3. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) call on the Lampung official and others in his office to respect journalists undertaking their professional duties.

Credit: RMOL Lampung

Dozens of journalists and heads of provincial agencies attended the press conference held by the Lampung governor on March 3, during which he asked if there were journalists in attendance from local online media outlet RMOL Lampung. Tuti Nurkhomariyah, a journalist with RMOL Lampung, raised her hand only to be told to “just write the good news”. The governor then went on to make references to Nurkhomariyah’s clothing and said: “Especially when you already don the hijab. Listen and follow. Do not risk your own life.”  

Following the press conference, four male adjutants requested the RMOL Lampung journalist meet with the governor. During that meeting, Djunaidi complained about an article she’d written on the intervention of businessmen in the local election. She was then asked to apologise for the story by one of the adjutants. Distressed by the intimidation, Nurkhomariyah said she did so under duress in order to exit the meeting as quickly as possible.

Djunaidi has a noted track record of verbally attacking and harassing the media in Lampung. Dating back to 2016, while he was secretary of Lampung Province, Djunaidi harassed Noval Andriansyah, a journalist at the Tribun Lampung for interviewing Djunaidi after he allegedly attacked a worker at the Raden Inten II airport.According to AJI,Djunaidi verbally assaulted another journalist working for Kupas Tuntas in 2019 who was covering a story on working conditions at the Maritime and Fisheries Agency of Lampung.

AJI said: “It is inappropriate for a governor as a public official to threaten journalists. Governors cannot intervene in journalism or ask what journalists can and cannot write. He also needs to respect journalists, as it is guaranteed by the Press Law.

The IFJ said: “The governor of Lampung seems to have established a disturbing pattern of unacceptable media bullying, which brings the provincial leadership into an extremely negative light. The IFJ reminds the governor of his obligations in engaging with members of the media in a professional and respectable manner and complaints against the media should be dealt with by the Indonesia Press Council.”

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