IFJ Condemns Increasing Attacks On Journalists In Indonesia

The International

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.



For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +61 2 9333 0919



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