Indonesia: Three student journalists arrested while covering fishermen protest

The South Sulawesi water and police unit have arrested three student journalists in Makassar while they were covering a protest to reject sand mining on Saturday, September 12. The authorities released them on Sunday, September 13. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) stands in solidarity with its affiliate the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia to demand an investigation into the arrest.

Student journalists are together with the fishermen after the police released them. Credit: Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Makassar

The student journalists arrested were Hendra, the chairman of press student at the Hasanuddin University, Mansyur, the chief editor of CakrawalaIde at the Muslim Indonesia University, and Muhammad Raihan Rahman, who also a member of the CakrawalaIde publication.

The young journalists joined fishermen on their boat to protest sandmining on Kodingareng island. On the way back to Makassar, the boat was blocked by water and police unit vessels. Although the three student journalists showed their identity cards and a letter of assignment, the officers still arrested them. They were also reportedly intimidated and harassed before being escorted to the police office.

Sand mining is a controversial activity in Indonesia. Sand mining is a controversial activity in Indonesia. The operations of sand mining has impacted the fishermen and the coastal communities in the country.

The Indonesian Safety Committee for Journalists, which also supported by AJI Indonesia as its member, has condemned the arrest and remind the police that journalists are protected by the Press Law. According to the Press Law, everyone found guilty in obstructing journalists’ works will be sentenced to jail for two years at the maximum or charged with a maximum fine of IDR500 million or US$33,000.

“The Committee calls the police to investigate the officers who obstructed and intimidated the journalists. The Committee urges all the authorities to respect journalists who are on duty,” Committee added.

The IFJ said:“Despite the student journalists showing their identity cards, the police still arrested them for covering a legitimate protest. IFJ urges authorities to show constraint and let journalists do their work without fear of harassment.”

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