Indonesia: Journalist attacked over drug trafficking investigation

An online journalist was attacked by a suspected drug dealer in the North Sumatra province of Indonesia in retaliation for reporting on local drug-trafficking activities. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) have condemned the assault and urged the authorities to guarantee journalists’ safety.

Journalist Irfan Nahampun, wears red shirt, was with his mother in the hospital. Credit: Irfan Nahampun.

Irfan Nahampun, a journalist working for local online media, received a phone call on December 29 from JP, also known as Nando, a suspected drug dealer that he was investigating. In the conversation, the suspect accused Irfan of reporting his crime to the police. By that time, the journalist was conducting a media investigation on drug-trafficking in the area.

During the call, Irfan asked the suspect to calm down and meet to talk about the issue, an offer that was rejected. Not long after, the suspect came to Irfan’s house and attacked and strangled him. He also repeatedly threatened to end his life.

Irfan’s mother, who was also at home, was injured during the fight and had to be rushed to a hospital. Police arrested the suspect and began investigations on December 30.

The AJI condemned the assault, emphasising the right of journalists to work freely, a right entrenched in the Indonesian Press Law. The AJI “demands the police to guarantee the safety of Irfan and his family and urges media to give him assistance.”

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “It is crucial to deliver justice to Irfan and his family. Journalists must work in a safe environment and not fear threats when reporting. We wish Irfan and his family a rapid recovery”.

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