Indonesia: Journalist intimidated following sexual harassment coverage

Three men attempted to intimidate a journalist at his house in Tamiang Layang, Central Kalimantan, on July 17, allegedly for his coverage of sexual harassment by a local official. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia, to condemn the intimidation of the journalist and demand the authorities conduct an investigation.

A protester holds a sign to raise awareness of the importance of the safety of journalists in Indonesia. Credit: AJI Indonesia

On July 17, three men visited the residence of Agustinus Bole Malo, a journalist for local online media Borneonews.com. According to Agustinus’ wife, they looked through the windows and attempted to find the journalist, before leaving upon determining he was not at home.

Agustinus had recently published several articles regarding the sexual harassment of a female university student allegedly by the head of the Social Department for Empowering Villagers in East Barito, when the student applied for financial assistance under the Indonesia Smart Card (KIP) program.

Agustinus has filed a report on the intimidation of his family to the sub-district police of East Barito.

Many local journalists in Indonesia have faced intimidation and harassment while in the field or following their coverage, from a range of perpetrators including the public order agency (Satpol PP), police, local agency officers and other individuals.

Since the beginning of June, the IFJ has documented at least five incidents of harassment against journalists in Indonesia. On June 29, local journalists Adhe Junaedi Sholat, associated with Radar Sulbar, and Abdul Rahman, a reporter for Tribunsulbar.com, were harassed while covering the coordination meeting of the taskforce agrarian reform in Mamuju, West Sulawesi.

AJI said: “AJI condemns the intimidation against Agustinus. All parties must remember that journalists work for public interests and must respect journalistic works and press freedom. AJI also urges local authorities to investigate the terror against journalists thoroughly”.

The IFJ said: “Journalists and media workers in Indonesia must be able to report safely and securely, without fear of harassment. The IFJ calls on the local authorities to bring the perpetrators behind the intimidation of journalist Agustinus Bole Malo to justice."

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

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

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram