Journalists attacked covering student protests in Makassar, Indonesia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly criticizes the actions by local police in Makassar in Indonesia’s north, who attacked a number of journalists on November 13. The journalists were attacked as these covered a police raid at the Makassar State University (UNM). The IFJ reminds the local government and police that journalists should not be punished or attacked for simply doing their jobs.On November 13, hundreds of police raided the Makassar State University over protests with students. A number of journalists were covering the raids when they to came under attack. Iqbal Lubis from Koran Tempo had his memory card from his camera taken by police and Vincent Waldy a Metro TV correspondent needed five stitches after he was attacked on the head by a police shield. Waldy sustained the injuries trying to prevent the police from confiscating Iqbal’s camera.A number of journalists also received verbal attacks from the police officers, including being accused as being provocators of the student actions. Journalists reported showing their press cards to the police by these were ignored.These are not the first reports of violence against journalists in Indonesia’s northern province. There are a number of reports of police officers preventing journalists from doing their work so that the repressive actions of the police are not exposed.The South and West Sulawesi Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. Endi Sutendi said: “We apologise for the incident, for our police beating journalists and raiding the UNM campus.”However, the Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI), Makassar branch said that they consider the investigation into the violence very disappointing. Of the 50 police officers involved in the attacks, only two of them have been stated as suspects. The AJI Makassar branch went on to note that the the police have not been fully referring to the Press Law 40/1999, which guarantess freedom of the press.The IFJ Asia Pacific acting director Jane Worthington said: “The IFJ is concerned by the actions of the Makassar police force against journalists. The actions are a clear attempt to withhold information, press freedom and work to weaken the Indonesia’s democracy.”“The apology from the Makassar police needs to be followed by a thorough investigation and action against those responsible to send a clear message to the people of Makassar and Indonesia that actions such as these against journalists will not be tolerated.” 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

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