Indonesia: Members of the military assault journalist

Nirmala Maulana, who works for a national online media Kompas.com, was assaulted by members of the military when covering the removal banners of Islam Defenders Front (FPI) Leader Rizieq Shihab in Jakarta on November 20. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia to denounce the assault and urge the head of the military to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.

Nirmala was covering the removal of the controversial FPI banners by military forces in Central Jakarta. When he finished the assignment, he was attacked by members of the military on this way to his motorcycle, who pushed Nirmala to the ground.

They demanded Nirmala delete the photos taken on his phone, before confiscating it and telling the journalist his phone could be picked up from the West Jakarta District Military Command. After Nirmala informed his newsroom of the attack, the army returned the phone.

AJI said: “Press Law has guaranteed the freedom of the press and the protection for journalists. According to this law, the perpetrators who attack journalists or obstruct journalists’ works will face up to two years in prison and fines of 500 million rupiah (US$35,000) for anyone who physically attacks a journalist. AJI urges the head of the military must take responsibility for this incident and immediately process legal proceedings for the members involved in the incident.”

The IFJ said: “IFJ rejects any attack on journalists who are in the process of news gathering and calls on the military to respect the role of journalists and hold the perpetrators accountable.”

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