Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Alliance of Independent
Journalists Indonesia (AJI) in demanding an end to tolerance for increasing violent
attacks on media personnel in Indonesia.
call came with news of an attack on two journalists in Surabaya
City, East Java,
on May 7, allegedly perpetrated by police. Lukman, of Trans 7 TV, and Septa Rudiyanto were covering a peaceful but
banned protest by Falun Gong followers. Journalists were not permitted to
report the incident when police detained some protesters.
According to Lukman, police ordered the journalist to leave and
assaulted him. “Police in uniform beat my head,” he said. AJI and the Legal Aid
Centre for Press have prepared a case against the police. AJI reports that 21
members of the police are being investigated in regard to the attack.
“This latest incident is a worrying
indication of the broader challenges faced by Indonesia’s journalists and media
workers in order to bring the news to their communities,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“Ongoing violence targeting media
personnel is fuelled in large part by the failure of Indonesia’s authorities to act
against such violence. The IFJ calls on the Government of Indonesia to take
concrete steps to address impunity for violent attacks as a matter of urgency.”
Increasing cases of violence combined
with declining working conditions are challenging journalists across Indonesia.
The Indonesian Press Council documented 66 cases of violence against
journalists in the past year, including murder, damage to media offices and
equipment, forced evictions, reporting bans, lawsuits, intimidation and terror,
and mass mobilisation of people against media and journalists.
Few cases have seen justice served. Cases of concern include the Tual State
Court’s ruling on March 9 to release three defendants in the case of murdered Sun
TV contributor Ridwan Salamun, and the inability of the authorities to solve
the brutal stabbing of freelance journalist Banjir Ambarita in Papua.
Safety concerns are compounded by
inferior working conditions. An AJI survey conducted in 16 Indonesian cities
from December 2010 to mid-January 2011 showed that some media companies pay salaries
below the minimum wage. In some cases journalists are not paid salaries. Instead
they are instructed to seek their income as account executives or marketing
agents or by requesting fees from their sources - in violation of labour laws
that such practices will hold corporations to be liable for fines ranging up to
RP 400 million (about USD 46,650) and/or a jail terms of up to four years.
The AJI study also found that the wages of women journalists are lower than their
male counterparts, and there are concerns about the extent of sexual abuse and
sexual harassment faced by many women journalists.
Many media corporations do not provide insurance for their journalists, hence
leaving their families without financial protection. Women journalists suffer
more from lack of insurance than their male counterparts. In some media
companies, women journalists who are pregnant do not get financial support for
the cost of their delivery. There is a presumption that a husband’s employer is
responsible for this compensation, despite the fact that not all companies
reimburse their married male employees for the delivery costs.
The IFJ joins AJI in calling on the Government of Indonesia to:
1) Guarantee the safety of journalists.
2) Bring to justice all suspects in cases of violence against journalists.
3) Enact a minimum wage for journalists and enforce an acceptable wage standard
among media corporations.
4) Compel media corporations to provide insurance and proper safety training to
journalists working in conflict-prone areas or covering risky topics such as
corruption, elections, criminal investigations and environmental issues.
Both organisations further call on journalists and media workers across Indonesia
to join forces to build a strong and independent union.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +61 2 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
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