IFJ Calls for Urgent Action to Free Indonesian Journalist Fery Santoro

The President of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is in Jakarta to press the IFJ’s call for urgent action by the Indonesian Government to free RCTI cameraman Fery Santoro.

Journalist Ersa Siregar and cameraman Fery were abducted while on assignment in Langsa in Aceh, Indonesia, almost seven months ago on 29 June 2003 and held hostage in Aceh by the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka or Free Aceh Movement (GAM). Ersa was found dead on December 29.

The IFJ President, Christopher Warren, in Jakarta today demanded the Government of Indonesia remove obstacles to allow the release of Fery.

“The death of Ersa was an unnecessary tragedy. Everyone needs to take all action to ensure that Fery can be safely freed,” Warren said.

“Attacks on journalists are not just an individual tragedy. They are an attack on press freedom, itself.”

The IFJ President is in Jakarta to meet with Government representatives and with the Red Cross over the safety of Fery.

“While we welcome the recent efforts to negotiate the release of Fery, all parties must step up efforts to secure his immediate release and put his safety as the paramount concern,” Warren said.

Warren also said there needed to be an urgent international independent inquiry into the death of Ersa on December 29. Ersa was reportedly found dead after an exchange of gunfire between the TNI and the GAM.

The IFJ has written to the UN, UNESCO and the International Committee of the Red Cross calling for an inquiry.

“This case again demonstrates that international law needs to be strengthened to provide explicit protection for journalists and other media workers, including a genuine independent inquiry into deaths such as Ersa.”

Additional details are available on the IFJ Asia website at IFJ Asia

For further information contact IFJ President Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668