Indonesia: Rioting football supporters assault journalists

Journalists covering the football match between PSIM Yogyakarta and Persis Solo at Mandala Krida Stadium in Yogyakarta Special Region on October 21 were attacked by spectators and a footballer from PSIM Yogyakarta. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Alliance of Independence Journalists (AJI) Indonesia in condemning the assaults and urges authorities and the football club to conduct a full investigation into the attacks.

Trouble erupted during the game when two PSIM players were issued red cards in the last few minutes of the match causing a riot to break out. Angry fans rushed the football field with some supporters throwing items at the opposition Persis Solo’s benches. Police responded by firing tear gas at the rioting supporters.

Guntur Aga Putra, a photojournalist for Radar Jogja, was hit on the back of the neck and beaten. Supporters also intimidated him into deleting footage. A second journalist Budi Cahyono, of Goal Indonesia, was similarly intimidated after documenting a fight between PSIM and Persis Solo players during the game. Achmad Hisyam Tolle, a player for PSIM, demanded Cahyono to delete the pictures before grabbing his  camera.

Attacks on journalists by football supporters are not unusual in Indonesia. On August 16, Wiwit Eko Prasetyo, a journalist of BBS TV in Madiun, East Java, was attacked while covering chaos outside the Wilis Stadium. Although identifiable as a journalist with an orange vest and press card, supporters attacked the journalist and forced him to relinquish his memory card. As he returned to the stadium, he was hit in the chin with a thrown helmet.

The chairman of AJI Indonesia, Abdul Manan, said acts of violence against journalists impede journalists’ rights and the public’s right to information.

“The actions of these supporters showed they do not understand Indonesia’s  Press Law which guarantees the safety of journalists. We also urge the media companies to assist their workers and file reports to the police,” Manan said.

The IFJ said: We urge the authorities to conduct a prompt independent investigation into the incident.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

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

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